A massive breach of data security by AT&T’s has exposed some very high profile users’ email addresses and contact information from the celebrity hotlist of Apple’s select early-adopter iPad 3G users. An in-depth report by Ryan Tate (Valleywag) says, “The specific information exposed in the breach included subscribers’ email addresses, coupled with an associated ID used to authenticate the subscriber on AT&T’s network, known as the ICC-ID. ICC-ID stands for integrated circuit card identifier and is used to identify the SIM cards that associate a mobile device with a particular subscriber.”
This is a big blow for Apple, and more so for their already rocky relationship with AT&T. With data breaches like these happening more and more frequently, maybe we’ll see the end of these ridiculous ‘exclusive’ deals we’ve been subject to in both the US and the UK, where we end up locked into AT&T or O2 (in the UK) just because we want a particular type of phone. From now on, maybe the lack of trust that this sort of data loss will undoubtedly breed, will benefit the rest of us as exclusive lock in deals with just one provider might not seem so clever. Then we all all have the privilege to choose which cellular provider we will pay to lose our personal data and leave us pen to fraud. And, as we know… it’s all about freedom of choice!
I’ve been working at editing a book review for Issue 3: and what an excellent book it is (the review is pretty good too, I may add). The reviewer could not have praised this book any more than he did and there is good reason for this. Dr John Olsson’s latest book on Forensic Linguistics is a fantastic read and really open up your eyes on what’s possible through the study of words alone. To be able to point the finger at a culprit on nothing more than the phrasing in a fake suicide note takes a lot of skill and experience, but also the understanding of the linguistic formulation of the prose, which is where John’s book really wins, is vital. John has done an article on the role of forensic linguistics in convicting the culprit in the recent terrible events that led to the death of a young girl using Facebook. He discusses the dialogue used between murderer and victim and how, with careful screening, we can discover the motivations of unseen people at the other end of a virtual connection in cyberspace. What intrigues me is the crossover here. SMS, for example, has created the need for a new language and cryptic annotation that is used mostly by teenagers today. When we, the mobile forensic examiners, extract this information, we need to make sense of it to help with the overall investigation. And how can we determine is the suspect is actually the person who sent the incriminating text? This is exactly where Dr Olsson’s skill comes in, and he’s finding himself more and more involved in computer crime investigation. We know that the Forensic Science Regulator in the UK is focusing on integrating digital forensics into the mainstream role of other forensic sciences, which I believe is a great move, allowing a lot tighter collaboration between the various branches of our profession. Dr Olsson shows the benefits in terms of this one case realating to Facebook, but I feel we need to start looking for other such stories in DFM to really show the importance of cross-field collaboration.