This week there was another progression in the infamous and long running Microsoft vs State of NY case – the one if you remember where the New York, USA court is demanding that Microsoft Ireland aquise to a subpoena issued in the USA.
Well this week the Second Circuit court of appeals agreed with Microsoft USA that the USA had no jurisdiction over assets within Ireland:
§ 2703 of the Stored Communications Act does not authorize courts to issue and enforce against U.S.‐based service providers warrants for the seizure of customer e‐mail content that is stored exclusively on foreign server.
A great writeup of the case can be found at Lawfareblog.
This case can still be raised to the Supreme Court, but since there are other legal methods for the USA to request the assistance of the law authorities in other countries, the door is finally closing on trying to impose domestic law on USA companies with assets in other countries.
The current global data economy and the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy act are woefully out of step, but this decision is the right one to support the global technology industry.
After all – if a court in the USA can compel the release of data from Ireland, surely a court in China can compel the release of data stored in the USA?
This week BBC news reported that Apple would not help the FBI bypass the pin on one of their phones
The FBI have apparently asked Apple to create two assistive technologies :
“Firstly, it wants the company to alter Farook’s iPhone so that investigators can make unlimited attempts at the passcode without the risk of erasing the data.
Secondly, it wants Apple to help implement a way to rapidly try different passcode combinations, to save tapping in each one manually.”
Ignoring who is right or wrong in this matter – these are not uncommon requests – I’ve been asked by various governments and “three letter agencies” in the past to do exactly the same thing, which I too have politely declined.
Reading between the lines, the FBI requests would indicate an admission that the actual cryptography within the iPhone is robust and correctly implemented – and that there are no discovered back doors which would allow the FBI access to the data without Apple’s help.
So we can assume that the FBI cannot usually access data stored on iPhones. What help can Apple give?
Shocking revelations in a BBC news story today on the number of active cybercriminals – No, not the story itself, that was old news to industry veterans, but the closing quote from Troels Oerting, head of Europol’s Cybercrime center.
“Imagine in the physical world if you were not able to open the trunk of a car if you had a suspicion that there were weapons or drugs inside… we would never accept this.
“I think that should also count for the digital world. I hate to talk about backdoors but there has to be a possibility for law enforcement, if they are authorised, to look inside at what you are hiding in your online world.”
Really? There has to be a possibility for law enforcement to decrypt data? Read more…
Jonathan Zdziarski posted an interesting blog last week detailing some of the changes in IOS designed to improve security, and reign in accessibility of data in the new IOS 8 release.
Historically, it’s been possible for legitimate law enforcement groups to pressure Apple into unlocking devices – Much like data requests sent to ISP’s about your browsing and network habits, Apple (and Google et all) were able to unlock “confiscated” devices so detectives could search them for incriminating evidence.
IOS8 makes that somewhat harder and puts Apple (and Google) squarely against what Law Enforcement and Governments want. Read more…
Many people have contacted my team and I over the last few days about the recent announcement by ElcomSoft, that they offer a tool to decrypt Bitlocker, PGP and Truecrypt volumes.
This $299 tool is advertised as getting you access to this encrypted data quickly and easily…
Now, this may sound exciting, but as they say, there’s always a catch – you need a memory dump from the machine from when it was authenticated to use this tool – yes, no recovery if you find a cold machine. You have to get access to it while it’s on and the user has logged in, then, after they switch it off, you can recover the data..
NOTE – Production-ready version 5.63 (as far as I am aware) is now available on CTOGoneWild
This version is a real departure from the 5.2 and before series, as I got rid of the dependence on IE for the UI – it was becoming a real pain, with IE trying to display first run screens, telling me it was not installed etc. Generally the IE object was unreliable to say the least.
Instead, I used a whole bunch of HTAs – This is nicer architecturally as each stands alone and can be modified as you see fit, so you can change the UI without changing the logic of the script, plus they run independently so if they crash and burn, again, no problems for the script.
Other than that, there were some more changes to make the “Run On Logon” code asynchronous, so it does not stall the user experience when provisioning them. You can find a full list of changes at the top of the autodomain.vbs script.
Finally, if you enjoy this tool and it saves you a whole bunch of time and effort, you might want to send me something from my Amazon Gift List? Thanks!
You can read more about the current version on my previous blog on this topic.
I finally got around to posting ToastCache to my CTOGoneWild site. This is a simple script which uses a couple of tricks, and a kludge to force the EEM v5 Name index to rebuild on demand.
The EEM Name Index is one of the most useful performance enhancements you can enable within the product – certainly any database running more than 2000 machines needs it turned on to give reasonable performance. The Index speeds up Name>ID resolution. Without it, the server has to crawl the entire database searching for an object which matches the name it’s looking for – This means that logging on slows down for new users (they are placed at the end of the db), and also creating new things takes more time (as the DB has to be trawled end-to-end looking to see if the name is already in use).
The index resolves both of these, and more scenarios by maintaining a “bucket list” of hashed names>IDs. Read more…