Apple working with FBI on San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone, still refusing to create backdoor to allow entry

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2016, 07:20
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, security, Software


Following up on last week’s coverage of Apple, the FBI, the Department of Justice, Donald Trump screaming about things and the San Bernadino shooter’s locked iPhone, it turns out that Apple has apparently offered the FBI four different options for recovering data on the iPhone 5c used by Syed Rizwan Farook. None of those methods involved Apple creating a backdoor into iOS as ordered by a federal court this week, and at least one of those methods might have been thwarted because a San Bernardino Health Department employee changed the password on the iTunes account tied to the iPhone.

According to unnamed company executives, Apple has been working with the FBI since “early January” to access data on the device. One of the methods proposed involved allowing the device to auto-connect to a trusted Wi-Fi network, where Apple hoped the device would auto-backup to iCloud. Apple would then be able to copy the data on iCloud for controlled retrieval.

Unfortunately, this is apparently where the password for the iTunes account had been changed roughly 24 hours after the iPhone was seized by the government. The password seems to have been changed by a San Bernadino Health Department IT employee who had been trying to access the shooter’s iCloud information.

Given that the password had been changed in iCloud and that the iPhone had yet to be ceded to the FBI, connecting to the known Wi-Fi network didn’t result in the device performing an automatic backup as hoped. That may not have happened anyway, however, as the last known iCloud backup—which had already been given to the FBI—was performed on on October 19th. It’s possible Syed Farook turned off that feature.

Apple has recently pushed back against the FBI’s insistence that a backdoor be created to access the iPhone and claims that no company has ever been asked to create a new version of an operating system for the purpose of collecting data on a device.

Apple has recently been compelled to comply with the order, the company having until February 26th to comply. The company, in turn, has cited the dangers of creating a back door to assist law enforcement, citing that this could provide a gateway for malicious interests and that the tool, once created, cannot be unmade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via The Mac Observer

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