Apple shoots for the impossible: An unbreakable iPhone

“Apple is pushing hard to make its phones more secure, but the quest for perfect security will never be met,” Laurie Segall reports for CNNMoney. “‘Getting to unbreakable is impossible,’ Apple engineers told CNNMoney, though there had been reports that the company was reportedly working toward that goal.”

“The engineers said that the company is constantly improving its security as hackers get more sophisticated, but that no company writes perfect code without some vulnerabilities,” Segall reports. “That’s one reason the company fought so hard against the government’s request to create special software that would help them access the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist — a move that Apple said would ultimately weaken security. The FBI ultimately was able to access that phone without Apple’s assistance. But it has not disclosed the method or who helped do it.”

“Apple engineers think the government should share what they’ve learned,'” Segall reports. “‘We would love to know what this mechanism is so that we could address it and fix it in our product… it goes without saying normal practices are to let the manufacturer know so it’s fixed for all the customers,’ said the Apple engineer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The duplicitous FBI should disclose the super duper top secret third party (Cellebrite) and their double-secret method (NAND-mirroring), so that Apple can confirm that it doesn’t work with post-iPhone 5c iPhones (iPhone 5s and later) with Secure Enclaves.

SEE ALSO:
Inside the little-known Japanese firm helping the FBI crack Apple iPhones – April 1, 2016
Here’s how much the FBI is paying Cellebrite for its iPhone hack – March 25, 2016
Meet Cellebrite, the Israeli company reportedly cracking iPhones for the FBI – March 24, 2016
U.S. Senator Wyden pledges to fight limits on encryption – March 31, 2016
Apple’s new challenge: Learning how the U.S. cracked terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Did the FBI just unleash a hacker army on Apple? – March 29, 2016
Apple declares victory in battle with FBI, but the war continues – March 29, 2016
Apple vows to increase security as FBI claims to break into terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
U.S. government drops Apple case after claiming hack of terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Meet Cellebrite, the Israeli company reportedly cracking iPhones for the FBI – March 24, 2016

29 Comments

  1. Part of me feels that on the one side Apple wasn’t obligated to help the FBI, break their security – since we find out it was naturally broken and the weak spot is a national secret – it’s a bit of the old medicine.

    The truth is, national security rests on a solid foundation of data protection, not data access. Therefor it is important that Apple be allowed to patch against the discovery. I am hoping the FBI and DOJ come to their senses, spit out the sour grapes and seek to protect the common good, which is us, not them.

    1. The FBI, the DOJ, and all other such organisations are mere constructs, not anything like actual humans who come to their senses, or experience sour grapes, or seek to protect the common good, or show any evidence of caring for human welfare. They are monstrosities that must be actively and deliberately controlled lest they exceed their charter, which is almost always, according to my reading of history.

        1. Trust no one. Humans are masters of deception, especially of self-deception. All social life consists of detecting the dissembling of others, and avoiding being detected oneself. Genius consists of detecting one’s own dissembling and correcting it.

            1. Excellent point…genius, in and of itself, has no moral compass. Morality exists without genius, and genius exists without morality. And the ignorant can perform evil just as easily as the brilliant.

      1. Your initial post goes way too far, Herself. Monstrosities? You either exaggerate for effect of have bought into the politicrap.

        Those organizations consist of people like ourselves, the majority of whom are basically good and hard working. The idea that government workers are somehow more prone to corruption, sloth, etc. is yet another piece of politicrap that is used to unite a voting base against a common cause. T is certainly possible for governments and organizations to evolve in undesirable ways. And there is certainly a tendency for organizations to take on a “life” of their own that seeks self preservation, sometimes to the detriment of the whole. But to paint with such a broad brush – the government is evil, the FBI and DOJ are monstrous, unions are evil and responsible for all economic woes, etc. – is the sign of a weak or lazy intellect. It is a sign that you have allowed yourself to be infected with politicrap.

        These label and disparage campaigns are very similar to the “remember the children” warnings that MDN often warns about. They are the manifestations of the political game of divide and conquer. Based on the current political climate and the comments often posted in this forum, it is a strategy that is working far too well.

        1. My reading of history is that organisations expressing the moral will of the state or the tribe are the ones that go dangerously off course, the ones most intoxicated with their power to make judgements over their fellows, and delude themselves that they embody those morals even as they violate them. I didn’t mention Unions because they don’t express the moral will of the state. Criminal and civil justice bureaus do. So do state-sponsored religions. These specific purveyors of morality need better leadership than they typically get through ritual or political appointment, if the family of humankind is ever to escape war and genocide. If my brush is broad it is because our tribe, stripped of its pretenses, is no better than any other when it comes to oppression in the name of the right and good.

    2. As it was broken by an Israeli company, it’s more than a national secret. I don’t know, of course, but my guess is it’s because it was a slightly older phone. Going forward it will be tougher and tougher to crack an iPhone, at which time we’ll no doubt see the battle return to the courts.

      1. “Going forward it will be tougher and tougher to crack an iPhone”

        Every time I read of hear that “Going forward” phrase, I am puzzled. Is it even possible to go backward in time? Why say “going forward”?

          1. I prefer to use my iphone camera beside or over the shoulder of someone unlocking their iPhone.

            It is so quick and easy to be able to “crack” any iPhone that way.

            Of course, that means that the US needs to start using real spies again. And in this administration that is considered such an ugly, repulsive & dangerous job that they won’t consider it.

  2. An unbreakable iPhone would be indeed great. I mean, that old hag I call my wife is a bit of a klutz; she drops her iPhone all the time and expects me to pay for the costly repair. It’d be nice if the LCD would not break as easily or the aluminum would not dent.

    1. It is not nearly rare enough that I hear comments like yours about a spouse. You don’t deserve to have anyone in your life and would be lucky to every reach the moral and social development of a pig. You are a pitiful example of a mammal.

  3. Apple wants it both ways, and after making the FBI look like saps, I don’t see them giving Apple anything. It would be illogical on the part of the FBI to go through all of this crap and then help Apple block the access they wanted. The apparent goal of the FBI is to get the information they want with any means, and not to enhance the security of communications, even though that protects us all.

  4. All we know for sure is that the FBI “said” that they broke the phone, we don’t know that they actually did. It may be more that the FBI wanted to save face getting out of a law suit that they know they were losing in the courts and in public opinion, so that the precedent they don’t want wouldn’t be set. In other words, so they could live to fight another day when they think they have a better chance of winning.

  5. Why doesn’t Apple hire Celebrate to try to break some iPhone 6 ,6S, and SE models (iPod Touches and iPads too) for them? Or better yet, why not just buy them?

    1. There’s absolutely nothing but rumor and innuendo to verify that Celebrite even has a link to the FBI’s claim of cracking the phone. IOW – Sounds good to a layman public, but highly dubious.

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