Tag Archives: Apple encryption

FBI may have found a New Way to Unlock Shooter's iPhone without Apple

There’s more coming to the high-profile Apple vs. FBI case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) might not need Apple’s assistance to unlock iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook.

If you have followed the San Bernardino case closely, you probably know everything about the ongoing encryption battle between the FBI and Apple.

In short, the US

Apple vs. FBI — Google Joins Tim Cook in Encryption Backdoor Battle

Apple vs. FBI — Google CEO Joins Apple in Encryption Backdoor Battle

In the escalating battle between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Apple over iPhone encryption, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai just sided with Apple’s refusal to unlock iPhone.

Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to comply with a federal court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by one of the terrorists in the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, in December.

Here’s What the FBI is Demanding:

The federal officials have asked Apple to make a less secure version of its iOS that can be used by the officials to brute force the 4-6 digits passcode on the dead shooter’s iPhone without getting the device’s data self-destructed.
Cook called the court order a “chilling” demand that “would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.” He argued that to help the FBI unlock the iPhone would basically providing an Encryption Backdoor that would make the products less secure.

Backdoor for Government, Backdoor for All

However, Apple is worried that once this backdoor gets created and handed over to the FBI, there would be chances that the backdoor will likely get into the hands of malicious hackers who could use it for evil purposes.
Although many politicians, including Donald Trump, have slammed Apple’s decision, Google has stepped up and taken a public stand in support of Apple’s decision.
“I agree 100 percent with the courts,” Trump said in a statement. “But to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone, who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”

Google Sided with Apple

In a series of tweets late Wednesday, Pichai sided with Apple while saying “forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy” and “requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent.”

However, Pichai took more than 12 hours to talk about this burning issue, after Edward Snowden pointed out that Google had not yet stepped forward to speak up on his stand.

“The @FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around,” Snowden tweeted on Wednesday. Snowden called on Google to stand with Apple, saying, “This is the most important tech case in a decade.”

Pichai’s stance is basically: 

The technology companies will give its customers’ data to law enforcement when it is required to, but the companies will not put in a “Backdoor” for the government.
While the statements made by Pichai is not quite as forceful as Cook’s statement published in an open letter to its customers, we can assume both Google and Apple are together, at least in the sense that the federal agencies are asking too much.

Judge Orders Apple to Unlock iPhone Used by San Bernardino Shooters

unlock iphone passcode
The Tech Giant Apple has come into an entangled situation which could be a potential security threat for Apple users in near future: Help the FBI Unlock an iPhone.
The US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym has ordered Apple to provide a reasonable technical assistance in solving a critical case of Syed Farook; who with his wife Tashfeen Malik planned a coordinated “2015 San Bernardino attack” that killed 14 people injured 22.
As part of the investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had seized the Farook’s iPhone 5C that would be considered as an insufficient evidence until and unless the iPhone gets unlocked by any means.
Previously, Apple had made several crystal clear statements about its Encryption Policy, stating that even the company is not able to decrypt any phone data as the private key lies at the user’s end.
A similar problem encountered three years back with Lavabit, who was forced to shut down its services soon after when FBI demands SSL keys to snoop the emails.
However, despite forcing or ordering Apple to break the encryption and unlock the suspect’s iPhone, judges have ordered the company to find an alternative way to unlock iPhone, keeping data intact.

Can Apple Unlock iPhone? Yes, Here’s How:


From iOS 8, Apple added a data security mechanism called Data Protection, which uses 256-bit AES Encryption key to encrypt everything on the device.

Here the passcode a user enters is itself used as part of the encryption key and thus, it is impossible for an attacker or even Apple itself to unlock iPhone until the user re-inputs the passcode.
Besides Data Protection, Apple offers “Auto-Destruct Mode” security feature that will erase all the data on the iPhone if an incorrect password is entered 10 times concurrently, making the data unrecoverable.
So, Judge Pym wants Apple to come up with an alternative that should increase the brute force attempts from 10 to millions, in order to prevent the data from getting self-destructed.
Apple has not yet confirmed whether it is possible to write such a code that can bypass iOS Auto-Destruct feature.
But, if it’s possible, it would provide an alternative backdoor mechanism to every law enforcement and intelligence agency to unlock iPhone by simply brute forcing 4-6 Digit Pins effectively within few hours.
Here we support Apple policy not to help break its users’ encryption, because once a master key is created to unlock that particular iPhone, we’re sure that the US government will misuse this power and demand for the key again and again in near future for unlocking other phones.

Apple Rejects FBI Demands


Apple has dismissed the court order to unlock San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone.

Here’s what Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement:

“The United States government has demanded that Apple takes an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”