Apple problems with the FBI are entering an entirely new phase. The law enforcement agency has publicly announced that it will be sharing its methods for unlocking iPhones with its US partners; meaning that American police and sheriffs departments will soon have the means of breaking into suspects’ Apple devices.
The FBI recently gave up on its quest to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone 5C belonging to one of the San Bernadino shooters after a mysterious source offered it a different solution. The discussion about government backdoors on consumer technology has died down since the quashing of the court order, but there may be a new issue at hand.
Nobody actually knows how the FBI managed to crack Apple security features on the iPhone. Many are of the opinion that it requires a NAND replacement technique that allows the investigators to simply brute force the password. This would be a somewhat more ideal situation as it requires the device to be in the hands of law enforcement to be done.
However, there could also be a vulnerability in iOS that Apple is not aware of that is allowing the investigators to access the information on the phone. If this is the case, it is conceivable that the FBI could potentially engineer a software hack to remotely access data store on iPhones. It is for this reason that Apple is looking for legal ways to get the FBI to reveal what it knows.
The question here is whether the FBI will also be sharing its new secret with law enforcement agencies around the world. While the latest letter from the FBI specifically mentions American law enforcement partners, it would not be surprising if the assistance was also shared with investigators from other countries. All this means is that police from just about anywhere may now have a method of breaking into encrypted private data stored on Apple products.
[Source: Ars Technica]