Gruber: The next step in iPhone impregnability

Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner, reporting for the NYT:

Apple engineers have already begun developing new security measures that would make it impossible for the government to break into a locked iPhone using methods similar to those now at the center of a court fight in California, according to people close to the company and security experts.

“The way the iPhone works today, when put into recovery mode you can restore the operating system without entering the device passcode,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “The only restriction is that the version of iOS to be installed must be properly signed by Apple.”

“I think what Apple is leaking here is that they’re going to change this (perhaps as soon as this year’s new iPhone 7), so that you can’t install a new version of iOS, even in recovery mode, without entering the device’s passcode. (I think they will also do the same for firmware updates to the code that executes on the Secure Enclave — it will require a passcode lock),” Gruber writes. “If you do a full restore, you can install a new version of the OS without the passcode, but this wipes the data.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Make it so. Until Congress acts, Apple should double down on making iOS the Fort Knox of operating systems.

U.S. government sought data from 15 Apple devices in last four months – February 25, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone-cracking software the ‘equivalent of cancer’ – February 24, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Apple to argue that FBI court order violates its free-speech rights – February 24, 2016
Apple, the U.S. government, and security – February 24, 2016
Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones – February 23, 2016
In the fight to hack iPhones, the U.S. government has more to lose than Apple – February 23, 2016
Here are the 12 other cases where the U.S. government has demanded Apple help it hack into iPhones – February 23, 2016
John McAfee blasts FBI for ‘illiterate’ order to create Apple iPhone backdoor – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016


    1. Cute, but this is about more than communications. This is storage. Find a physical storage container that’s unhackable and unretrievable, and then you will have added something relevant to the conversation. 🙂

      (And if you figure out how to have a conversation with somebody in the other side of the planet without using potentially hackable technology, let us know. That would be useful information too.)

  1. Eliminate 4 digit passcode.
    Eliminate firmware updates without unlock.
    Allow erase and update as a recovery option.

    Sorry to the folks who want to access their own personal info, but forgot their password.

    I hope this does not bring the courts to view as obstruction of justice, for the effort.

    The focus is not to protect our phones from the “helpful hands” of the government, but from the unintentional access by foreign agients, criminals and oppressors. The main issue, is that there is no way to securely and safely determine the difference. There is only one door, and that’s your pass code.

    If you have a family and want to be helpful to your spouse, you might write down you passcode and put it in a safe deposit box. Add to that, your passcode to iCloud, so they can get to your purchases.

  2. Apple gets the value of empowering people with products that are secure for them.
    The other guys get the value of fear mongering in order to control and usurp the power of their wee people.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.