Why You Need To Pay Attention To The Apple and FBI Encryption Dispute.
You’ve likely heard a lot about Apple and the FBI’s recently concluded encryption dispute. In order to allow the FBI to access the iPhone of a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting, a judge ordered Apple to provide a method to bypass the smartphone’s security features. Despite the court order, Apple refused to comply, citing a number of risks that the new software would pose to mobile security.
As of March 28th, the FBI has abandoned its bid to force Apple to help unlock the phone as they had found a way in without the company’s assistance. Even though Apple didn’t play a part in the end, the fact is that the FBI has achieved the same result – iPhone security isn’t as strong as previously believed.
Even if you don’t own an iPhone, the reality is that the outcome of this dispute can have serious effects on anyone — and any business — that uses mobile technology.
The dilemma is that the software Apple had been ordered to give the FBI does not yet exist, and the mere development of it, and the precedent set by doing so, would fundamentally alter the integrity of mobile platform security.
This will mean a lot for business owners that have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies set in place with their staffs. As Cohn Consulting Corporation has said in the past, even the most robust of Mobile Device Management services comes with inherent risks; further effects of this dispute may include:
- Security in a legal setting: Now that the FBI has a confirmed their ability to forcefully unlock a smartphone, any business under investigation by the Bureau has to assume that their mobile data will be discoverable. Whereas once you may have felt secure relying on mobile security to keep your data safe in any setting, that’s simply no longer the case now that the FBI has successfully unlocked a suspect’s smartphone.
- Security in an illegal setting: If a new software were developed to bypass one of the most basic forms of mobile security — or if the FBI’s successful method falls into the wrong hands — that’s just another way for hackers to exploit mobile devices that are lost or stolen. Keep in mind that an unlocked phone is just the beginning; with the data gained from a staff member’s smartphone (contacts, emails, financial credentials, and more), it will be that much easier for hackers to penetrate your business.
- Setting a precedent: The outcome of this dispute will invariably inform all future considerations on the topic of encryption. In this case, the FBI was legally justified in ordering Apple to help compromise one of their products, so what’s to stop them from requesting the same assistance from Cisco, Dell, or Sonicwall? If Apple is fair game, so is any other company whose products you use for business. Similarly, if the FBI can legally compel Apple to invalidate their products’ security, who’s to say they can’t ask the same of you? Just as this dispute sets a precedent for the security of the technology you use, it also means that any business — including yours — could feasibly be ordered to act against the interests of its own clients.
In the end, the FBI backed off of Apple only when they found another way to get what they needed, but as the leadership of your business, this dispute should still concern you. Sure, your staff’s phones, tablets, and laptops may be secure, but can you really feel comfortable making that assumption anymore? In order to be truly confident in the security of your business’ data, you need expertise you can rely on.
The good news is that you don’t have to handle your IT security alone. Cohn Consulting Corporation is proud to apply an appropriate (and often rare) amount of skepticism to the security of new technologies, which is why you can trust us to design reliable policies and procedures to keep your business and its technology secure.
Our team of IT experts works hard to stay up to date with modern digital security trends. Get in touch with Cohn Consulting Corporation today at (770) 225-0584 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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