After the recent attempt by the FBI to force Apple to take an iPhone and open it up for inspection (looking for San Bernardino terrorist associates), the Tech giant has hired Frederic Jacobs, the developer behind Edward Snowden’s favorite chat app “Signal”
The security engineer responsible for Signal’s tough encryption will join Apple this summer, and will likely come up with a foolproof encryption software that will deter further temptation by those thinking of breaking into an Apple and compromising its integrity.
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Frederic Jacobs, a Switzerland-based developer who worked to develop secure messaging app Signal — the communications app of choice for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden — announced today that he is joining the Cupertino-based company this summer to work on its CoreOS security team. Jacobs spent two-and-a-half years with Whisper Systems, the company behind Signal, before leaving earlier this year.
I’m delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer.
— Frederic Jacobs (@FredericJacobs) February 25, 2016
Signal has been praised by the cybersecurity community for its robustness. Snowden, for one, said he uses it daily. It was one of the few apps to receive top marks for security in an EFF survey, while Jonathan Ździarski, a security researcher who has been much cited in Apple’s battle with the FBI, praised it for revealing “virtually nothing” when put through its paces with data excavation tools.
It’s unclear exactly what Jacobs’ role will be at Apple, but his hiring comes at a time when the firm is under major pressure. Apple increases the security measures within iOS with every major software release, but yesterday news broke that the company is working to remove the current passcode-free recovery option from future iPhones, while it wants to begin encrypting iPhone backups on iCloud.
Why make these moves? The company has been ordered to create software to allow the FBI to access data stored on the iPhone but — were these new changes implemented — it would be unable to do that. In effect, the company has identified itself as a potential weak point in the security process because the FBI can compel it to provide data, thus, removing its ability to do that, mitigates that risk. Or at least it forces the FBI to find new ways to get inside devices.
As regards the current situation, Apple and the FBI have voiced very different opinions on the order.
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