Apple vs FBI shown in different light as journalist hacked mid-flight

journalist hacked mid flight inflight
A journalist working on a story about the Apple vs FBI case, covering the potential weakening of smartphone security, had his laptop hacked during a flight by someone sitting in the row just behind him. At a time when many are wondering why Apple is kicking up such a fuss about the FBI’s request, this highlights an important point: whenever security is weakened people take advantage of it.

On the flight, USA Today journalist Steven Petrow sent emails to colleagues, discussed elements of articles he was writing, and even reached out to security experts for comments and quotes. To do all this, though, he used the “open” in-flight Wi-Fi from American Airlines partner, Gogo. Although encouraged to use a VPN if accessing sensitive information via the public Internet source, Petrow ignored that advice, to his regret.

Fortunately the man sitting just behind him alerted him to the security flaw in his practices when the flight landed, as he was keen to point out the dangers associated with weakened security — including the fact that he was operating on the flight’s open Wi-Fi. The situation may be analogous to what many might face if Apple loses in its FBI case.

Related: Tim Cook says FBI is asking Apple to write the software ‘equivalent of cancer’

The argument given by many from the perspective of the FBI is that this is just one smartphone Apple is being asked to weaken the security on. Apple’s action in opening the phone won’t be rolled out to others as a standard update and no other users will be immediately affected, we’re assured.

However, as Mr Petrow and his white-hat friend believe, it won’t take long before other users are affected. If precedent is set that the FBI can demand a weakening of security, it will likely do so again when it has another phone it needs to break into. Governmental agencies in other countries may soon wish to do the same.

If this begins to happen on a larger scale, many believe the FBI will see this as a foot in the door to creating standardized backdoors into hardware. Time will tell.

Movies & TV

Stan Lee has died: Marvel Comics icon and legendary creator dead at 95

Stan Lee, one of the world's most important and iconic comic-book authors, has died at the age of 95. Creator of some of the most famous and beloved superheroes and villains of all time, Lee leaves behind an indelible legacy.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?

Multi-monitor issues? Here's how to resolve them

If you're running into multi-monitor problems, you're not alone. Two screens are very useful, but they can present some difficulties. Here are some common multi-monitor problems and how to fix them.

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, but it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The best MacBook deals for November 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

All the best deals on Surface products for Black Friday

A number of retailers are discounting Surface devices for Black Friday. Be it the Surface Pro 2017, Surface Pro 6, or the Surface Go, here's a look at how (and where) you can save big on Surface this holiday season.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…