Apple Rehires Security and Encryption Expert Jon Callas Following FBI Dispute

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Following its very public encryption battle with the FBI, Apple has rehired software engineer and and security expert Jon Callas, reports Reuters. Callas, who has previously worked at Apple, is known for co-founding encrypted communications services Silent Circle, Blackphone, and PGP Corporation.

Apple's decision to rehire Callas comes amid rumors the company is working on improving the security of its iOS devices. Apple has said it will continually improve security to keep ahead of hackers, and its dispute with the FBI is said to have spurred the company begin work on implementing security measures "even it can't hack."


Earlier this year, Apple was ordered to assist the FBI in the unlocking of the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, an order it fought because the FBI was asking for new software that would bypass iPhone passcode security measures. Apple insisted the software was "too dangerous to create," setting dangerous precedents that could lead to a weakening of overall device encryption. The FBI eventually dropped the case after finding an alternate method to breach the iPhone, but the fight over encryption is far from over.

According to Reuters, Callas supports Apple's position and is opposed to companies being compelled to break their own encryption by the government, but he believes law enforcement officials should be able to take advantage of software vulnerabilities, the method the FBI ultimately used to get into Farook's iPhone 5c.
Callas has said he is against companies being compelled by law enforcement to break into their own encrypted products. But he has also said he supports a compromise proposal under which law enforcement officials with a court order can take advantage of undisclosed software vulnerabilities to hack into tech systems, as long as they disclose the vulnerabilities afterwards so they can be patched.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed the hiring, but did not offer details on what Callas is working on. Callas was formerly employed at Apple in the 1990s and from 2009 to 2011, working on cryptographic security products for OS X and iOS.

Prior to its dispute with the FBI, Apple also acquired security company LegbaCore to improve the security of its software.

Article Link: Apple Rehires Security and Encryption Expert Jon Callas Following FBI Dispute
 

Phoenixx

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Jul 3, 2015
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But still FBI will ask Apple to unlock the phones the next terrorist uses an iPhone to commit new attacks
Possibly, or it is equally possible they will either get the same people to hack into the phone, or use the hack they have already got. Either situation is terrible for Apple, as they have ZERO CONTROL over what happens.

Apple were extremely arrogant to think they were the only ones that could create software to break into an iPhone in the first place. The real factor was not whether it was going to be created, but who created it, and who's hands it would end up in.
 
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Dr.Chroma

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Is that a picture of his Booking Photo from the Jail? Then he makes a quote on the Photo "If I tell you, I would have to kill you." Seems to be fitting.
 
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bradl

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Jun 16, 2008
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Is that a picture of his Booking Photo from the Jail? Then he makes a quote on the Photo "If I tell you, I would have to kill you." Seems to be fitting.
Read the comic strip User Friendly and research the character Sid Dabster. Then revisit this person and how he looks.

In the geek world, like mentioned above, this guy looks like he knows his ****.

BL.
 

keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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Possibly, or it is equally possible they will either get the same people to hack into the phone, or use the hack they have already got. Either situation is terrible for Apple, as they have ZERO CONTROL over what happens.
This is absolute horse-hockey. Increasing security and encryption while not pandering to the demands of a back door into iOS is not a bad thing. If full control means Apple or the government can willingly hack into their own devices, I'd much prefer an Apple that has 'ZERO CONTROL'.
 

Dr.Chroma

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Apr 11, 2016
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Read the comic strip User Friendly and research the character Sid Dabster. Then revisit this person and how he looks.

In the geek world, like mentioned above, this guy looks like he knows his ****.

BL.

Ok. But he still scares Me. Not to worried about his credentials.
 

bradl

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Jun 16, 2008
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Ok. But he still scares Me. Not to worried about his credentials.
Exactly. which is why with his knowledge, he is exactly the type of person that will give us the means to protect our data.

BL.
 

emm386

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2016
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"Keeping AHEAD of hackers"? Oh my - someone still hasn't understood the chain of events here - absolutely ridiculous!

You build a lock, something that is - to the best of everyone's knowledge - secure. Then someone else finds a way around or through it. This vulnerability is being disclosed in one way or another and eventually being used. Who is the one being "ahead" here now? Apple, because the hired a professional who made it really really hard to break into it?

On a serious note, he probably knows his stuff, and it is a good idea to hire a professional. Smart, yet obvious move by Apple. Nothing outstanding, most security conscious companies would go this way.
 

Sasparilla

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Jul 6, 2012
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...callas is a legend...
Legend is not overstating it here.

This guy is very good at the encryption side of things - he was a major player in FileVault. One of the best people Apple could have hired. I love seeing Apple do this. They are cranking it down on the security / privacy side of things inside Apple.

Would love to see Apple rollout the Dark Mail protocol (a project this gentleman's company was involved with previously) en masse - and instantly make realistic encrypted e-mail (including the envelope information) viable in the world.
 
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Tech198

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Mar 21, 2011
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"as long as they disclose the vulnerabilities afterwards so they can be patched."

I don't think the FBI feels that way. Besides, the "even the FBI can't hack" is not what it's about, because they didn't hack the phone, someone else did. and Apple's even said the FBI isn't their main target.