Law Enforcement and Smartphones: Premeditated Encryption

Lawmakers, and law enforcers, have been looking for encryption solutions for some time to protect user data within iOS and Android operating systems. The problem exists in all parts of the world, and it is about yes law enforcement agencies do not have access to suspects’ smartphones for various crimes, which, as they claim, endangers the safety of all other citizens.

One new research indicates that governments around the world already know the methods by which investigators access data from detainees’ phones, and thanks to security vulnerabilities that exist on both iOS and Android devices. Namely, cryptographers from Johns Hopkins University addressed the issue, and examined the available documentation from Apple and Google. Along the way, they addressed the weaknesses within iOS and Android operating systems and examined reports from the last ten years, in which they could read in which ways law enforcement overcame obstacles when it comes to phone encryption and with the help of which hacking tools.

Shocking results

The results of the research shocked the researchers, but also the general public, since it was believed that smartphones store user data well, and in the end it turned out that this was not entirely true. The fact is that when the user locks the phone, the device encrypts all content, which means that they should be safe even if someone steals the phone and somehow manages to download the data, since in these cases the downloaded content due to encryption seems completely meaningless. However, that is not entirely true, so the researchers point out that law enforcement agencies and no special permits are required to access the suspects’ telephones, because operating systems have so many weaknesses that the ways to access content are diverse.

So the police use the same methods as cyber criminals, as well selects and buys phone access tools based on current vulnerabilities in iOS and Android operating systems. Both Apple and Google regularly publish patches, but for those that are not resolved, there is always a key. As long as mainstream operating systems have weaknesses, access to the devices will be open, so it is not clear to many why governments around the world are openly demanding that the encryption problem be resolved when investigating suspects, when their phones are already wide open.

Source: Ars Technica

Source: PC Press by

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