The FBI may have dropped its case against Apple, but that doesn’t seem to be the end of the story. Apple is apparently concerned about the methods employed by federal investigators; fearing that the news could trigger a wave of hackers and criminals looking to duplicate the exploit.
Cupertino has reportedly directed its attorneys to search for a legal method to force the FBI to reveal how it managed to unlock the iPhone 5C belonging to one of the San Bernadino shooters. Unlike security researchers, the FBI has no legal or ethical reason to share what it knows with anyone; especially not the company that had declined to assist it in the past.
News of a possible exploit will have cybercriminals on the lookout for a way into the devices. It is for this reason that most security vulnerabilities are disclosed to tech companies several months before researchers reveal their discoveries to the public. In theory, this gives the companies time to fix the problem before the world finds out it exists; although there have been cases where vulnerabilities go unresolved for much longer than they should.
Then again, getting a government body to disclose secret information is not exactly all that easy. The procedure itself is kept from the public, which means that nobody actually knows how to go about it. Which is likely to suit the FBI just fine in this situation. Of course, it is likely that the investigators will stall all efforts by saying that it can only reveal the information after investigations are complete.
For now, we will just have to live with the fact that there is a vulnerability in iOS that Apple does not know how to fix; and the only people who know what is going on are unwilling to share their precious secret.
[Source: The LA Times]