When the news got about about the attacks in Brussels, the question was asked: Do the terrorists have encryption?
It’s been asked for awhile now, and in light of the Apple/FBI fight, it’s in the spotlight.
But what’s missing, according to Silicon Valley security experts, is the fact that terrorists, like us, are using mobile phones, and apps like WhatsApp, and even Twitter, to communicate. Yes, the messages and calls are encrypted, but so are ours.
“That cat is out of the bag,” says cyber security expert Slawer Ligier of Barracuda Networks. “Encryption is essential. Encryption is available to both bad guys and good guys.”
His point, which is being echoed by Apple, is that privacy is here – to an extent – on our mobile devices. It’s what you do with those texts and emails and calls that can cause damage.
Should the FBI be able to get into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone? When, on Monday evening, it said it might have a way in, I texted John McAfee, a noted security expert who has said he could get into the phone. He tweeted out, “I played a role.”
He’s not telling us what that role might be, but we’ll be watching to see if the FBI can get in.
And we’ll no doubt tweet out and debate the results, on our encrypted phones.
Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman