SecurityFocus columnist Scott Granneman says that the FBI uses Macs, according to
a recent article
in which Granneman talks about his meeting with Dave Thomas, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s St. Louis Division.
Thomas talked with Granneman at length about the risks and perils faced by Windows users these days, including trojan horses, viruses and worms. Granneman noted in the article that Thomas uses an IBM ThinkPad notebook.
“I asked him about that, and he told us that many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they’re secure out of the box,” said Granneman. “In the field, however, they don’t have as much money to spend, so they have to stretch their dollars by buying WinTel-based hardware. Are you listening, Apple? The FBI wants to buy your stuff. Talk to them!”
It gets better, at least if you’re a hacker: Thomas told Granneman, “If you’re a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac.”
“Basically, police and government agencies know what to do with seized Windows machines,” said Granneman. “They can recover whatever information they want, with tools that they’ve used countless times. The same holds true, but to a lesser degree, for Unix-based machines. But Macs evidently stymie most law enforcement personnel. They just don’t know how to recover data on them.”
We’ll let it go for the moment that Mac OS X-based systems are indeed Unix-based machines.
“So what do they do?” asked Granneman. “By and large, law enforcement personnel in American end up sending impounded Macs needing data recovery to the acknowledged North American Mac experts: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Evidently the Mounties have built up a knowledge and technique for Mac forensics that is second to none.”