iPhone users worried about a secret hack capable of cracking the security on their devices can rest easy. It turns out that the solution used by the FBI to break into an iPhone 5C does not work on anything newer than the iPhone 5S. FBI Director James Comey admits that the tool being used is extremely specific and only works on a tiny slice of phones.
While the FBI did not elaborate on why this is the case, it is believed that Apple’s Secure Enclave technology is what keeps newer devices safe. Introduced with the A7 processor, the Secure Enclave is a separate chip that handles all cryptographic operations. It’s kept apart from the rest of the system operations and protects data encryption even if the rest of the phone is compromised.
Also revealed was the fact that the FBI used an unspecified tool, bought from an unspecified vendor, to break into the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone 5C. Comey was unwilling to reveal the identity of the seller; saying that the FBI is very good at keeping secrets.
Despite this, the agency is debating on whether to inform Apple about the vulnerability in its older iPhones. Comey reasoned that revealing the problem would allow Apple to fix it, and that would leave law enforcement back at square one. This would essentially lead to more legal cases where the FBI tries to get Apple to build a backdoor into iOS.
The US government is looking to introduce a bill that would circumvent the need for court orders and simply force all technology companies to build government controlled backdoors into their products. Apple CEO Tim Cook had once said that law makers do not appreciate the problems that could arise from this sort of practice.
However, one comforting piece of news is that US President Barack Obama has declared that the White House would not be endorsing the encryption bill. Obama had previously warned that he would veto any attempt to coerce tech companies to give the government access to their data.
[Source: The Verge]