A Hardware Privacy Monitor for iPhones

from Schneier on Security

Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Edward Snowden have designed a hardware device that attaches to an iPhone and monitors it for malicious surveillance activities, even in instances where the phone’s operating system has been compromised. They call it an Introspection Engine, and their use model is a journalist who is concerned about government surveillance:

Our introspection engine is designed with the following goals in mind:

More here.

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One Response to A Hardware Privacy Monitor for iPhones

  1. Shiyun Ye September 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Andrew Huang and possibly one of the most well-known men of the last five years, Edward Snowden have made a hardware device used to measure any sort of harmful malware that an iPhone may be susceptible to, addressing an issue that is incredibly problematic in our modern era. The article speaking about the hardware mentions that it has 8 different goals set out to accomplish. It is open source, and user-inspect able, essentially meaning that anyone can check the hardware themselves to see what it is doing to make sure the introspection engine is not deceiving anyone. Additionally, the hardware relies on the actual IPhone to complete its processes, as well as the device being field verified. These are very positive parts of the device, as it makes sure that the control is still with the user, and it protects against many malicious viruses that the iPhone itself is vulnerable to. One of the nicest features is also that the device mostly does not trigger false positives, something that is a prevalent issue with much antivirus software, as it alerts the user to many silly “threats” that do not pose any risk to the hardware of the user’s system. The system is also almost undetectable by the iPhone, which is quite a nice positive, as that means that the user will not be bombarded with anything from the iPhone. The iPhone protection systems will not be alerting the user to the presence of the third party software, instead giving the user an experience like it is not there, while providing effective and easy protection for the user. The hardware also has a very easy user interface, meaning many people, no matter the technical experience, will be able to use the hardware without needing help, it will be as easy as setting up a Windows computer, meaning that the hardware has a great interface. A simple user interface also means that the risk of user error is greatly diminished, leading to stronger protection for the user, as well as leading to a user-friendly experience, something that is a win-win situation. Lastly, while the hardware will be usable on a day-to-day basis, the user will hardly even encounter the hardware, meaning that it will give the best protection with the least effort on the side of the user, one more positive for it. Overall, the hardware is fantastic if it performs as advertised, as in our current age of compromised cyber security, exemplified by the recent hack of Equifax, this iPhone hardware will offer fantastic protection to users without them having to sacrifice their user experience to be safe on the web. Anyone who uses the web is never one hundred percent sage, but any extra armor for one of the most used device in many people’s lives in a welcome addition. However, the author of the article does bring up a good point at the end of the article, saying that this device does not stop from companies like Google or Amazon from surveying us. While it does keep track of its users, it is not viewed as malicious software, as it is just part of using software from those companies, and so users of the IPhone will not be completely protected from that. Even with this slight negative, overall, this hardware will be a welcome addition to malware protection, as there is currently very little in the ware of protective hardware for Apple products now, as most malware protection targets more mainstream systems, such as Windows and Android.

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