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Crime Government Iphone Privacy The Courts

San Bernadino D.A. Says Shooter's Phone Could Harbor "Cyber Pathogen" (theguardian.com) 253

Mr.Intel writes with the Guardian's report that : San Bernadino D.A. has a novel argument for why Apple should be forced to provide the FBI with tools to decrypt the iPhone once used by mass-shooter Syed Rizwan Farook: a "dormant cyber pathogen," he says, could have been unleashed by the county's electronic infrastructure, and only by examining the phone's content can any really be sure. From the article: The questionable claim comes from Ramos's amicus brief in the case, filed with the US District Court on Thursday afternoon. In it, Ramos supports the FBI's argument that Apple should be compelled to build a one-use version of its operating system to load on to the seized phone – used by the mass-murderer, but still technically property of his employer, San Bernardino county – in order to weaken the security and allow the Government to brute-force the shooter's passcode. ... Ramos said: 'The iPhone is a county owned telephone that may have connected to the San Bernardino County computer network. The seized iPhone may contain evidence that can only be found on the seized phone that it was used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino County's infrastructure and poses a continuing threat to the citizens of San Bernardino County'.
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San Bernadino D.A. Says Shooter's Phone Could Harbor "Cyber Pathogen"

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  • Old News (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:48PM (#51646835)

    San Bernardino D.A. admitted he made the whole thing up.

    • Re:Old News (Score:5, Funny)

      by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:06AM (#51646891)

      a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino County's infrastructure and poses a continuing threat to the citizens of San Bernardino County'.

      San Bernardino D.A. admitted he made the whole thing up.

      making him a lycanthropic doormat carbon-based pathological lying golem that endangers San Bernardino County's infrastructure and poses a continuing threat to the citizens of San Bernardino County.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      San Bernardino D.A. admitted he made the whole thing up.

      Are you sure? "Cyber Pathogen" sounds like one of those fictional words I hear on C.S.I., I doubt he came up with that nonsense on his own.

    • The opportunity for journalists to trash future presentations by the people involved in these cases is getting enormous. The FBI director claimed it wouldn't set a precedent, but has now retracted. Sadly journalists, despite their reputation for addressing issues with 'no fear or favour', in practice realise that if they demolish the person they are challenging, there WILL be consequences for their employer. Let's hope that defence counsels up and down the land take the lesson however.
  • Unicorns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:51PM (#51646845) Journal
    Perhaps the phone contains unicorns farting rainbows. I am sure that looking for unicorns would be good reason to crack the phone.
    • Re:Unicorns (Score:5, Funny)

      by Daniel Matthews ( 4112743 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:10AM (#51646901)
      That is more probable than you think and potentially another of the reasons why the terrorist wanted to kill infidels. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        You seem like a nice enough guy so I probably shouldn't do this but, well, I'm an ass like that:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Don't click that link. My daughter was over for the holidays and shared that with me. She gets a kick out of it. I admit to chuckling a couple of times. The scary part is my daughter's an actual medical doctor. Yup... And she shared that with me. And one about some Salad Fingers. That was just... It was just different.

    • Nah, just go to North Korean, they've apparently already discovered a cave of them. :P
      I wonder if the D.A. has already booked a tour for himself.
  • Bull hockey... And don't forget the children!
  • Holy Water (Score:5, Funny)

    by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <kenwd0elq@gmail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:59PM (#51646873)

    The ONLY CURE for a "lying dormant cyber pathogen" is for the phone to be boiled in holy water.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:01AM (#51646883)
    Next filing Ramos will argue there might be a cyber demon hiding there just like the one on Buffy, ready to eat the souls of all Americans except the atheists.
  • Lolwut (Score:5, Funny)

    by flopsquad ( 3518045 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:10AM (#51646899)

    The seized iPhone may contain evidence that can only be found on the seized phone that it was used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino County's infrastructure and poses a continuing threat to the citizens of San Bernardino County.

    Look, we know they had guns. That's just the part we know about.

    What we *don't* know is whether these nefarious masterminds [youtube.com] also had a cyber malworm with nuclearized darkweb spearphishing viruses that could use long-blockchain cloud replication vectors to infect all the computers in San Bernadino AND THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THEM!!

    Only by decrypting the phone can we be 100% sure it doesn't contain such a doomsday "cyber pathogen."

    • Re:Lolwut (Score:5, Funny)

      by Barny ( 103770 ) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:21AM (#51646939) Journal

      Could these spearphishing viruses use the IoT to vector into self-driving cars and thus, synergize with illegal 3d printer technology?

      • Oh god I hadn't even thought of that! Yes of course, it all makes sense.

        I hope it's not too late to amend the brief. The judge needs to know that the threat of a hacked botnet of drones equipped with self-firing 3D printed guns is both real and credible.
        • Re:Lolwut (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Barny ( 103770 ) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 06, 2016 @02:15AM (#51647295) Journal

          At this point if Apple do not assist, we can only assume they are harboring TERRORISTS. How long with these monsters be allowed to go unhindered on US soil? Drone strikes are of course, the only answer.

          • It's all well and good for us to take the piss out of a bunch of statist Luddites.

            But some small part of me worries in 15 years I'm going to be standing up at a school board meeting, holding my temples and grimacing with exasperation, "Our children are not, and never have been, in danger from NDSVs! There's no such thing as nuclearized darkweb spearphishing viruses! It was a joke posted on the Internet years ago, and this prosecutor in California kept repeating it because it sounded scary!"

            Grumbles
    • If it's so powerful, decrypting the phone won't believe it - it will just morph itself back into the regular OS. It's a quantum virus - you look at it, it ceases to exist, and appears on some other phone.

      Of course, that's almost as nutty as the DA.

  • Anyone's Phone... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:10AM (#51646905)
    If you assert the existence of a "cyber-pathogen," there's no reason to stop at one phone... why not decrypt and search every phone? Only way to be sure...
  • And if they should make what would otherwise appear to be a successful decryption attempt and they do not find anything along the lines of what they are looking for, they will forever remain uncertain whether their decryption attempt did not inadvertently erase part of the phone's contents or if this whole thing was just a wild goose chase.
    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Um.. It is either decrypted or not. This is a binary value. There would be no uncertainty of missing data should they decrypt the phone.
  • believe that the public is infinitely stupid!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2016 @12:48AM (#51647057)

    It could have anything.

    Let's unlock it because it "could have":

    1/ The secret to unlimited green energy
    2/ A list of the sporting records for the next century
    3/ A picture of a cat in a box
    4/ The entire global drug supply network's name and addresses
    5/ The location of the largest weapons grade plutonium deposit in the universe
    6/ The source code for Windows 22
    7/ Nothing at all interesting

    FFS: make a decent case as to what it probably has.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @02:07AM (#51647265) Homepage Journal
    Colin Powell will be warning the UN General Assembly about it later this week, and plans to show them a vial of deadly cyber pathogen to prove it!
  • by burni2 ( 1643061 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @02:12AM (#51647287)

    If the iPhone holds a "Cyber Pathogen" then it must be destroyed, because the second that iPhone is unlocked by an Apple intervention the cyber pathogen could spread through the whole United States and infect everything from your pocket calculator to your android smartphone.

    It is a threat that must be destroyed, incinerate that phone right now

    (Because I'm just fed up with the whole order to encrypt and denying battle of Apple, that we should all know is a big charrade by Apple, because if it had been requested silently they'd done it.)

    Just get it over with!

  • by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @02:45AM (#51647357) Homepage
    That phone could also contain:
    - The solution to a number of longstanding open mathematical problems
    - The answer to the ultimate question about Life, Universe and Everything
    - Proof to put Snowden and friends in jail forever
    - The undeniable identity of JFK murderer
    - A tiny piece of code that could make windows much faster than Linux

    We do all need to unlock that phone, definitely!
  • ...decrypting the phone releases the pathogen?
    • But what if decrypting the phone is the only way to stop the pathogen from activating? Crap it's Schrödinger's pathogen!

  • "...and only by examining the phone's content can any really be sure."

    It could also be aliens, strange gods, spaghetti monsters or the invisible man and only by examining the phone's content can any really be sure.

  • wouldn't opening up the phone not RELEASE that dormant cyber pathogen?
  • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @09:24AM (#51648049)

    to the idea that probable cause should mean that the cause be near the 1.0 end of probability and not the 0.0 end?

  • Wouldn't that be a reason to throw it into a volcano instead of removing all safeties and turning it on?
    • I was thinking sledge hammer, or shotgun at close range, but that would prevent yet another wave of hysteria being promulgated to further... I don't know ... lot's of ways to fill in that blank.

  • Unlock the phone...and risk the disease getting out?

    No, clearly this DA is clueless as to how technology works.

  • OMG! The phone contains systemd!

  • There could beviruses that infct humans on it (HIV, Ebola Zika,etc)
    as well as computer viruses.
    Destroying it with high enough temperature is the best bet.
    For example thermite

  • This DA sounds like he is on a paranoid drug trip, similar to some crazy conspiracy theorist who forgot to take his asenapine saying that the government has implanted listening devices in his fillings. Rizwan was a food inspector and Malik was (educated as) a pharmacist. There is little if any indication that they had any background in advanced programming. And even the FBI seems unable, try as they might to stretch the definition, to tie the two of them to any significant terrorist organization so its u

On a clear disk you can seek forever.

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