By now, you’ve probably heard of the San Bernardino shooting. If you haven’t, then let me refresh your memory. On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in an apparent terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
It’s one of the more prominent acts of terrorism that have hit the U.S. because of one important evidence: the Apple iPhone 5c used by one of the shooters that was found on the scene. It may or may not contain information, but the significance of that piece of technology is not about what it holds but what it represents.
Setting a bad precedent
A few weeks ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that they couldn’t unlock the iPhone 5c through sheer brute force, i.e., constantly guessing the 4-digit passcode until they get it right. The agency said they couldn’t risk wiping the data with more tries, a security feature built into the device by Apple.
And because the data on the 5c wasn’t synced with iCloud, the FBI had to find alternative methods of accessing it. Their idea — a radical one — was to ask Apple to create a special tool that:
- allows the FBI to guess as many passwords as they like without the data on the phone being wiped; and
- lets the iPhone connect to an external device, such as a desktop or laptop, where the FBI can run a script that guesses passwords quickly.
With the advancement of technology, it was only a matter of time before information security became a national security issue. The problem here is that Apple no longer has the ability to access encrypted data on iDevices running iOS 8 or higher.
Even if they could, Apple firmly believes they shouldn’t, as explicitly stated on their website via an open letter penned by CEO Tim Cook:
In today’s digital world, the ‘key’ to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.
The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.
The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.
The FBI invoked the All Writs Act of 1789 — a century-old U.S. federal statute that has been used to practically force technology companies to cooperate with the government — to get a court order.
Personal data in the wrong hands
Our phones hold an unbelievable amount of information. They have become windows to our lives. Our location, our messages, our pictures, bank records, statements, emails, and everything else in between? Chances are, all of them can be found on our phones.
In the wrong hands, that data could destroy our lives. Which is why the biggest smartphone OS developers — namely Google, Apple, and Microsoft — have made data security a big, if not the biggest, part of their respective feature lists.
With the FBI asking Apple to create a special system to bypass the tech company’s security setup, that system will be out there. That’s partly why Apple is afraid; even if they could create one, it would undermine everything they worked hard for. Once the system is created, nothing is stopping the FBI — or anybody who gets their hands on the software — to use it for personal or criminal reasons.
The FBI suggested solutions to the problem:
- there will be a custom ID, i.e., each custom OS can only be installed on a specific phone;
- operation of the software will be done only at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, California; and
- any software update needs Apple’s approval to install.
But most security experts agree this isn’t just going to be about one phone. From the Verge:
That’s a nervous-making thought for security professionals, since no single system is ever thought to be entirely impenetrable. New vulnerabilities pop up in software all the time, and for the iPhone, they can sell for as much as $1 million. iPhone security expert Jonathan Zdziarski says there’s a real concern that an undisclosed vulnerability or existing exploit could be used in a way that Apple and the FBI can’t predict. Even if the signature system isn’t broken outright, the same tricks used by the FBI’s tool could be repurposed to give malware a stronger foothold on a targeted iPhone. ‘It’s not about just stealing one tool,’ says Zdziarski. ‘There’s a lot going on in software like this, and having a direct tap into how Apple can disable functions moves [attackers] along at light speed.’
But more than the system going into the wrong hands, it’s about that system ever existing in the first place. Because once the FBI wins the legal battle, it will set a terrible precedent for all tech companies. It tells them that the government, in their infinite benevolence, will be able to ask for the court order again and again. Once that’s possible, no matter what the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency says, they’ll have the power to lord over everyone’s privacy just because they’re the government.
And remember Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who leaked evidence of the U.S. government practically spying on everybody? Yeah.
That’s why you should care. If the court order holds and Apple can’t fight it back legally, then say goodbye to actual privacy, at least whatever is left of it anyway.
Whether you’re here in the Philippines or not, your privacy will be compromised. Whether it’s the government or some crooks who are spying on you, it won’t matter. Unless you stop using smartphones or any other devices that connect to the Internet, your privacy and your personal life will not be your own.
So pray that Apple wins this injunction and hope that you still hold control over your life after all of this is said and done. Because if they don’t, hackers will be the least of your worries.
[irp posts=”4932" name=”Unhappy customer walks into Apple Store, destroys Apple products”]
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S10+ vs Galaxy S10E: What are the differences?
A decade of Galaxies
Samsung has launched three new flagship phones: the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10E. With three new models to choose from, it might be difficult to choose which Galaxy S10 is the one for you.
To help with this, we took the liberty to show you the differences between the three. Which of the Galaxy S10 models will be your GadgetMatch?
Starting with the screen, the three Galaxy S10 models sport Super AMOLED displays in different sizes. The Galaxy S10E is the smallest among the bunch with a 5.8-inch display. It’s followed by the regular Galaxy S10 with its 6.1-inch display and, of course, the Galaxy S10+ with its large 6.4-inch panel.
It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy S10E has a completely flat display, while the other two Galaxy S10 variants have the curved panels we’ve come to expect from Samsung.
All three models don’t sport a notch, but they do have holes on the upper-right corner for their front cameras. The Galaxy S10E and Galaxy S10 have a perfectly rounded hole-punch camera, while Galaxy S10+ has a pill-shaped cutout since it has two front-facing cameras.
Despite the size differences of the phones, all models are powered by a flagship processor. Depending on where you are, the Galaxy S10 family will sport either a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820.
Memory and storage configuration will also vary depending on the region. The lowest possible memory available is 6GB and it can go as high 12GB. As for storage, it starts at 128GB and will reach up to 1TB. The 12GB+1TB combo will be exclusively available for the Galaxy S10+.
Another significant difference between the Galaxy S10 phones is battery capacity. The Galaxy S10E has a modest 3100mAh battery, the Galaxy S10 owns a pretty standard 3400mAh battery, and the Galaxy S10+, being the biggest of the three, comes with a huge 4100mAh battery.
All three variants support fast charging using wired or wireless chargers. They can also do reverse wireless charging (which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare) to charge other devices using the Qi wireless standard.
Lastly, both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ feature the new ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader, which is definitely faster than any of the in-display fingerprint readers we’ve tried before. The Galaxy S10E has a more conventional side-mounted fingerprint reader that’s still accurate and fast, but not as advanced.
The Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ are the first among the Galaxy S lineup to have triple rear cameras. The setup is composed of a main 12-megapixel Dual Pixel and Dual Aperture camera, a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle, and a 12-megapixel telephoto with 2x optical zoom.
Since the Galaxy S10E is priced lower, it only has two of the three rear cameras of its more expensive siblings: the main Dual Pixel camera and the ultra wide-angle shooter.
The situation in the front is quite different, though. Both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10E have a single selfie camera, while the Galaxy S10+ gets an extra depth sensor for a more precise bokeh effect or Live Focus.
Pricing and colors
The cheapest model is the Galaxy S10E which starts at US$ 750. The regular Galaxy S10 will set you back US$ 900, while the bigger Galaxy S10+ is priced at US$ 1,000.
All three models will come in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, and Prism Blue. In addition, the Galaxy S10E will be available in Canary Yellow, as well. The Galaxy S10+ also has premium Ceramic Black and Ceramic White variants, but these are only available for the high-tier configurations.
Colors option may vary per region, so not all colors will be available in all markets.
Get to know more about the latest Galaxy S10 series by watching our hands-on video:
Instagram photo challenge with the Samsung Galaxy S10
Hands-on with all three versions!
Samsung’s newest Galaxy S devices have just been announced and we’re blessed with three versions: The Samsung Galaxy S10e (small), the Galaxy S10 (big), and the Galaxy S10+ (big big!).
Each phone is equipped with a number of cameras so you know what that means: IG photo test!
In our Her GadgetMatch video, we check out what’s so cool about the new Samsung phones and test what the cameras can do. Spoiler: They do a lot!
Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-On
Does it live up to the hype?
Infinity-O Display, five cameras, in-display fingerprint reader, next-generation wireless charging: these four features define Samsung’s new Galaxy S10.
When you take its features apart like this, it makes it seem like what we have is yet another underwhelming phone with no new groundbreaking feature. But to look at the S10 that way does the phone an injustice. It’s one that needs to be taken as a whole, not a sum of its parts.
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