NEW SMARTPHONES TO PROTECT YOU FROM POLICE!

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The FBI has started a campaign against Apple and Google because the companies are making it harder for law enforcement to access people’s phones. The new settings will give only people who own the phones the ability to give permission for what is on a phone. James Comey, head of the FBI and several others are saying this will protect criminals. The move is coming from people demanding protection from law enforcement from having unfettered access to their entire lives.

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How Google is protecting customers

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Here, via Computer World, is how Google is protecting the customers that buy the Android phones.

Google is turning on data encryption by default in the next version of Android, a step that mirrors broad moves in the technology industry to ensure better data security.

Android has been capable of encryption for more than three years, with the keys stored on the device, according to a Google spokesman.

That means Google or another service provider wouldn’t be able to provide access to the encrypted data. Law enforcement would have to approach the device’s user. Android L, which is still in a developer preview mode, is due for release before the end of the year.

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Turning encryption on by default means one less step for users, who may not even be aware of the option. It also protects users in other scenarios, such as if they lose their phone.

Many developers are striving to make applications and systems where they do not hold encryption keys, which could be obtained by law enforcement through a court order.

How Apple iOS 8 will protect people

Here, via Police One, is how people will be able to protect themselves with the new iOS of Apple.

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All Apple devices can be set to require a passcode to unlock. The default “simple” passcode is four digits, but there is an option to enter a longer passcode of up to 90 characters, which can include letters, numbers, and special characters. The iPhone 5c, 5s, and 6 have a fingerprint sensor on the ‘home’ button that can also be used to unlock the phone. 

Most people don’t set a passcode for convenience’s sake. If their phone is stolen, anyone capable of pushing the ‘home’ or power buttons can see everything stored there. People who are concerned about security will set at least the simple passcode to protect their phone and its data. Brute force attempts to crack the device using all possible passcodes will fail because the device will wipe all its data after ten unsuccessful attempts.

The device lock protects only the data stored in most of the native iOS applications, such as email and text messaging. Stored photos, podcasts, books, iTunes media, and most data stored in third-party applications can still be recovered with forensics tools like those from Cellebrite, Oxygen, AccessData, and Elcomsoft

Forensics researcher Jonathan Zdziarski revealed the weaknesses in iOS’ security. Under most conditions, a locked iPhone running IOS 8 can still be unlocked without the cooperation of the owner. The key is to get control of the computer the phone was last synced with. Most people set up and back up their phones to a desktop or laptop computer. When this is done, a trusted pairing record is created on the backup computer. With this record and the appropriate computer forensics tools, the phone can be unlocked. This requires physical possession and a hardwired connection between the computer and phone, but most of the time, it can still be done. 

Why “most of the time?” This is because the user can still take some measures to make accessing information more difficult for the police. If the user turns off the device before it is seized, the trusted pairing record method won’t work. Turning off the device means powering it down completely — requiring a reboot when power is restored. 

The device must have been used at least once since it was rebooted. If your suspect is smart enough — and has enough time — to hold down the power button for a few seconds and slide his finger over the confirming power down prompt on the screen, the phone is really, really locked. 

The other block is to encrypt the hard drive of the backup computer, and fully shut it down before it is seized. There are a variety of free encryption tools for this, including Microsoft’s BitLocker, which comes with some versions of Windows. If the computer is only in “sleep” or “hibernation” mode (which happens if a laptop user just closes the display and stuffs the computer in a bag, as many of us do), the drive might be accessible without the encryption key. 

If it’s been fully powered down and it’s encrypted, you’re going to have a lot more difficulty getting in. 

People will now be able to be secure that one of the most important devices in their life will be safe.

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