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FBI repeatedly exagerated how many phones it needed to decrypt and couldn’t

THE FEDERAL Bureau of Investigations in the US has seemingly taken a few cues from their president, after confirming that it had lied to Congress about how many phones it had tried to access as part of investigations.

You might remember that back in 2016, there was a mass shooting at a community centre in California, though if you don’t, we’re getting so numb to it all now, we’ll forgive you.

Anyway, one of the shooters iPhones which could have had evidence on it was recovered, but the shooter couldn’t unlock it, and Apple came under intense pressure to give the FBI backdoor access, which it refused.

It’s understood that eventually, they got an anonymous tip with the password included.

Under US law, citizens cannot stop the FBI from reading the contents of their devices, but neither are the obliged to unlock them in the first place and as a result, many criminals are using third-party software to encrypt them beyond the out-of-the-box security.

As a result, a number of phones and tablets remain locked. It’s the quantity that has been a bit, shall we say, hazy on the details.

The agency has – not once – but repeatedly provided hugely inflated stats to Congress about how bad things are, claiming that 7800 devices had been nabbed last year, locked, as part of investigations.

The real figure is somewhere between 1000 and 2000 says The Washington Post. The exact figure is somewhere around 1200, as far as we know.

Now given that FBI Director Christopher A Wray has cited that larger number as a reason why something absolutely has to be done about the practice of “Going Dark”, this is pretty awkward.

Once would be bad, but the figure was misquoted over a period of seven months, over and over again.

Apparently, a computer error (isn’t it always) meant that some handsets were counted twice.

Well, we say twice, sounds like some of them were counted 5 or 6 times. The FBI has said that this isn’t the end of it, and it will continue to press for law reforms which would allow them access to encrypted data.

In the meantime, all donations of abacuses or those clickers that doormen use in nightclubs would be gratefully received. Send to: The FBI, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 22202… no wait… 22201…. no hang on…846…ish, USA µ  

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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