The New Unbreakable iPhone?
Apple is reported to start discussions with a number of digital security experts in relation to bolstering iOS’s security. The move comes in the wake of FBI requests to access an iPhone belonging to the man behind 2015’s San Bernardino terror attacks. The FBI are trying to exploit the iPhone’s troubleshooting system and force Apple to not only write but also install new software that strips away security features, thereby making it easy for it to be hacked by the government.
iPhone engineers have already begun to develop new heightened security measures, which will make it impossible for the US government to hack into a locked iPhone using methods that are similar to what is currently at the center of court proceedings in California.
The FBI are demanding that Apple create a new version of their iOS that will allow the FBI to force a passcode on the iPhone belonging to the terrorist. The FBI believed that the information on his phone will yield to what they believe to be key information that will help them build a case.
However, despite the FBI’s insistence, Apple are refusing to comply, stating that they do not have the right software to allow the FBI to break into an iPhone. They also make the case of moral hazard because if they open the iPhone up in this way, it would lead thousands of similar requests on Apple devices to be hacked by government agencies. Tim Cook who is the CEO of Apple claims that creating this software for the FBI is ‘equivalent of cancer’.
There is some credibility to this sentiment because reports suggest that the FBI is also asking Apple for access to another 12 iPhones in separate criminal cases.
Sources told the New York Times that Apple’s new plans could mean it would be all but impossible for the FBI to break iPhone users passcodes in the future. Apple is fighting back by creating a new iOS that no one can break – not even Apple themselves so that they can avoid similar requests in the future.
Independent experts say that Apple have held informal conversations with Apple engineers on developing new security devices. “There are probably 50 different ideas we have all sent to Apple,” say Jonathan Zdziarski who is a security researcher.
Apple CEO Mr. Cook wrote a letter to its customers regarding these plans saying, “We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.”
But there is one massive spanner in the works. Each and every iPhone has a built-in troubleshooting system, which lets Apple update software without needing the user to enter a passcode. This feature was designed by Apple to make it easy for them to repair malfunctioning phones.
In many ways, Apple’s extreme response and position is in line with what has happened in Silicon Valley since Edward Snowden’s revelations. For instance, Yahoo left its email service unencrypted for many years but the company quickly announced plans to encrypt email soon after Snowden revealed the NSA (National Security Agency) widespread surveillance. Google also made similar moves to fix a vulnerability used by government agencies to hack into their company data center.