February 25, 2016
Apple engineers are hard at work on making the company’s newer-model phones impenetrable.
Sources told Apple is working to shore up the iPhone’s defenses to prevent the government from bypassing the device’s already tough encryption. If successful in its bid, the change would mean not even a software update from Apple would be able to circumvent a user’s password.
The move comes as Apple fights a federal court proclamation ordering the company to help the FBI unlock the iPhone 5c of one of the attackers who carried out the deadly Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. The order to help the FBI, which came last Tuesday, tells Apple it must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to law enforcement in the recovery of the phone’s data. The FBI has been unable to access the device’s encrypted content.
Currently, iPhones’ Secure Enclave — which protects the device’s encryption keys — can be updated without the user’s password.
According to the Washington Post report, Apple engineers have been working to address the issue since before the San Bernardino terrorist attack, but efforts have been increased since the court order.
Although the update the company’s engineers have been working on would not help Apple in the case of the iPhone 5C used by shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, it would mean the Cupertino company would not have any way to help law enforcement access data from any of its new model iPhones. And that would mean federal authorities would be forced to find a new way to access phone data.
Apple has said last week’s court order would “set a legal precedent that would expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us.” So it comes as no surprise to learn Apple is doing all it can to protect encryption on its devices.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has asked the U.S. government to withdraw its iPhone encryption demands and, instead, have Congress form a panel to discuss the issue. If that does not happen, Cook has promised Apple will challenge the court order.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.
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