Newer data encryption allows increased protection of smartphones

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Newer software also allows users to turn on a setting which will erase all data after too many wrong password attempts. (WLS)

ABC7 I-TEAM INVESTIGATION
The I-Team has investigated your smartphone's security and the controversy surrounding the privacy of your phone.

Authorities try to bypass encryption. The FBI is now offering to help local law enforcement, after announcing that it "mysteriously" hacked into the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

Police may need all the help they can get because it is challenging to crack into a criminal's phone.

If you're accused of a crime, this is what law enforcement wants from your phone -- geo-tagged mapping, pictures and detailed texts.

The I-Team didn't know the passcode for a smartphone but we found it all.

Security experts at Data Defenders in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood showed the I-Team software used by police to crack passwords and extract information.

It's easy for them to bypass passcodes on older smart phones, but not most newer ones.

"The pendulum has swung from one side to the other now," said Cyrus Walker, of Data Defenders.

That's because of new "encryption" which scrambles data, even if investigators can bypass the phone's passcode.

"If the data on those phones that relate to those crimes can't be accesses then that crime could go unpunished," Walker said.

As security experts use the same software to hack into a newer model phone, it didn't work.

"It has completely failed," explained Al Hobbs, of Data Defenders. "It's an industry-standard, heavy-duty encryption. It's not easily defeated."

Newer software also allows users to turn on a setting which will erase all data after too many wrong password attempts.

There are also encryption apps which can further scramble data.

Making it harder on law enforcement, there are also now longer passcodes.

Instead of four digits there are also now six-digit options and alpha-numeric ones.

However, privacy experts urge all consumers to protect themselves by using the strongest passcodes possible.

Related Topics:
technologyI-Teamiphonesmartphonessecurityconsumer
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