Tuesday, January 09, 2018

FBI Couldn't Crack 7,800 Devices Last Year

The inability of law enforcement authorities to access data from electronic devices due to powerful encryption is an "urgent public safety issue," FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday in remarks that sought to renew a contentious debate over privacy and security. The FBI was unable to access data from nearly 7,800 devices in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 with technical tools despite possessing proper legal authority to pry them open, a growing figure that impacts every area of the agency's work, Wray said during a speech at a cyber security conference in New York.


A crack on the head
Is what you get for asking.
And a crack on the head
Is what you get for not asking.

--Steven Patrick Morrissey

#1 | Posted by madscientist at 2018-01-09 02:13 PM


#2 | Posted by Ben_Berkkake at 2018-01-09 02:20 PM

Send them to a kid in Russia and he'll be in within minutes. Our law enforcement agencies are simply incompetent, that's why they had to focus on drug busts.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2018-01-09 02:25 PM

Unless you are a public figure, you are entitled to your privacy. For probable cause that you are breaking the law your privacy may be invaded, except for the very rich and powerful who enjoy divine amnesty. Of course this includes the deep State.

#4 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-01-09 02:30 PM

"despite possessing proper legal authority to pry them open"

Like being innocently caught up in a protestor round up?

Or crossing a border?

Or being the victim of a security hack?

There are so many ways of getting this "proper legal authority" it is becoming absurd.

#5 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-01-09 03:59 PM


#6 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2018-01-09 04:00 PM

Go down to the local magnet high school for science, look for the lunchroom table with the Indian or Pakistani kids and hire them as contractors. You will get in after only a few minutes.

Pro tip: don't ask the white kids--they don't want to help The Man...

#7 | Posted by catdog at 2018-01-09 04:39 PM

Forcing American companies to use weakened encryption, or 'back doors' will only help Chinese, Russian or criminal hackers to more easily get into said devices. And it's not like there aren't a ton of crypto software being written outside the U.S. that will be beyond the reach of the alphabet agencies...

#8 | Posted by AKat at 2018-01-09 04:45 PM

"The inability of law enforcement authorities to access data from electronic devices due to powerful encryption is an "urgent public safety issue,"

That's a blatant lie.

The FBI can sit and spin.

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-01-09 04:51 PM

Gubmint: Judge, I'd like legal authority to pry this here phone thingie open.
Judge: Why?
Gubmint: Well, your honor, the phone was being carried by a brown guy in an airport. Made some white people nervous.
Judge: I see. You got your probable cause. Pry away.

#10 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2018-01-09 05:07 PM

In a roundabout way, the FBI Director is right.

Being able to encrypt data so Uncle Sam can't read it is very important to our public safety.

What the FBI is asking for is a repeal of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

They need to be told to go pound sand, in no unequivocal terms.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-01-09 05:24 PM

The FBI may not have the tools to access this information, but there is a different three letter agency which doesn't have the same problem of accessing the encrypted data.

#12 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-01-10 08:23 AM

"there is a different three letter agency which..."

Most of the encryption algorithms used now since Snowden don't have any known exploits. That doesn't mean that the NSA doesn't have an unpublished one, but I think it's more likely that there really isn't one. I'd more readily believe that the companies like Apple and Google have been bribed or coerced into giving the NSA access to their data.

#13 | Posted by LEgregius at 2018-01-10 10:06 AM

I always have reasonable success using OPHCrack on a Linux boot disk.

#14 | Posted by john47 at 2018-01-10 10:14 AM

As we were told many times in the military, all codes can be cracked. The essential purpose of a code is time, not security. If it takes months to decode a message with a main frame, it has accomplished it's purpose. The real secrets are on hard copy, with a little tag that says EYES ONLY. Access is very limited.

#15 | Posted by docnjo at 2018-01-10 11:38 AM

Uh huh...sure they couldn't.

#16 | Posted by humtake at 2018-01-10 11:48 AM

The point is resources and importance. A state had vastly more resources when it concerns it's security. The old USSR invested a lot of resources into hacking and crypt-annalist, and the Russians still do so. We do also. The FBI investigates crimes, and that is important, so they have a department to decrypt suspected devices. Compare that with 17 intelligence agencies whose only purpose is to collect intelligence. Think of the NSA which reportedly records every phone call and data transfer world wide. Magnitude is important. The most powerful computers on the planet are in that building.

#17 | Posted by docnjo at 2018-01-10 12:29 PM

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