FBI’s success puts a big question mark on security of Apple iPhone
The FBI achieved success, without Apple’s help, to access the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his Pakistani wife, gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino last December.tech Updated: Mar 29, 2016 23:44 IST
The famed iPhone security is not as secure as Apple would have its consumers believe. The US government has managed to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone without the company’s help, and exposed a chink in the device’s armour, hitherto considered impenetrable.
The justice department told a California court on Monday that it had managed to break the encryption on the device, and is dropping the case against Apple Inc. The Cupertino, California tech giant, which is the world’s most valued company, had refused to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation request to unlock the device citing privacy concerns.
The new debate that will continue for some time is, how secure exactly is the iPhone? US investigators could unlock it, so could someone else.
Apple didn’t address that issue in its statement late Monday, saying only that this case should have never been brought to court as “it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent”.
The FBI had sought Apple’s help to access the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his Pakistani wife, gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino last December.
Investigators wanted to access Farook’s iPhone, which was protected against unauthorised access by a tool that wipes the memory of the phone after 10 wrong password entries.
The FBI asked Apple for help. But Apple refused and CEO Tim Cook said in an impassioned plea that consumers’ privacy will be irretrievably damaged if it cooperated. But the FBI managed without Apple’s help in the end.
A third-party company, from outside the government, helped the investigators crack it. But no details were given out about that entity .
Justice department spokesperson Melanie Newman acknowledged as much in a statement: “It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system.”