“Although they want to compel assistance from Apple to unlock a phone used by San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Farook, officials say the techniques they propose are limited in scope and pose no risk to the privacy of other iPhone users,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press. “Security experts say it’s not so simple. ‘It’s a very dangerous proposition to claim that this capability could not be re-used,’ said Will Ackerly, chief technology officer at Virtru, a computer security firm he co-founded after working 8 years at the National Security Agency.”
“Federal prosecutors have asked a court to force Apple to produce special software that would help the FBI guess the passcode to an iPhone found in Farook’s car. Federal officials say Apple will be free to destroy that software once the iPhone is open to investigators,” Liedtke reports. “Apple argues it’s unrealistic to think that governments, both in the U.S. and overseas, won’t ask to use the same program again in other cases. Ackerly and other experts echoed that concern. And on technical grounds, experts say, it may simply be impossible to keep the program from falling into the wrong hands.”
“They said it would be difficult, but not impossible, to reverse-engineer the Apple program so it could work with other phones. Software is easy to copy, despite the government’s reassurances, said Bruce Schneier, a security expert and chief technology officer for Resilient Systems. ‘That’s the nature of software,'” Liedtke reports. “Computer forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski raised another possibility: If authorities find anything on the iPhone that they use in court — for example, to identify and prosecute any accomplices who aided the San Bernardino shooters — then Apple could be required to explain its software in court. A judge might also permit defense attorneys and their experts to study the program. There’s a strong likelihood ‘this tool won’t be used once, but many times,’ Zdziarski said in an email, adding that each time could expose the software to copying or misuse.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Of course, this bastardized firmware would be demanded when the next big case rolls around and, of course, other governments would demand it, too, and, of course, it would leak eventually, compromising the security and privacy of over one billion iOS users.
As we wrote last November: Backdoors = insecurity. Wherever backdoors exist, it’s not only “authorities” exploiting them legally. Only a blooming idiot would believe in a “secure backdoor” accessible only by properly authorized “authorities.”
This is very simple. With any official who claims “it’s only one iPhone Apple needs to crack” and therefore doesn’t seem to grasp the larger ramifications, look for ulterior motive(s).
None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 27, 2015
Pew survey: More than half of Americans think Apple should comply with FBI – February 22, 2016
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg backs Apple versus U.S. government in iPhone security dispute – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Snowden: FBI could hack San Bernardino iPhone without Apple’s involvement – February 22, 2016
Why did the FBI direct the San Bernardino Health Department to reset Syed Farook’s Apple ID? – February 22, 2016
Apple posts open letter: ‘Answers to your questions about Apple and security’ – February 22, 2016
Apple could easily lock rights-trampling governments out of future iPhones – February 20, 2016
Apple is still fighting Big Brother – February 19, 2016
Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID password changed in government custody, blocking access – February 19, 2016