Sask. tech experts look at issue of unlocking iPhones
SASKATOON – It’s an order that could change everything. The United States government is demanding that Apple assist in unlocking an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.
So far, Apple has opposed the order and issued a statement saying the consequences of doing would have far reaching implications and compromising the security of personal information could put people’s safety at risk.
It’s a legal battle that comes two months after 14 people were shot dead at a Christmas party in California. The shooters, identified as Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, destroyed their personal phones and removed a hard drive from their computer at the time of the shooting.
The iPhone in question was issued by Farook’s employer and investigators are at a stalemate on how to crack the phone’s code without erasing its contents.
Leading to a first-of-its-kind court order in which Apple is being asked to intervene and disable the phone’s autowipe, where everything on a phone is automatically wiped after 10 failed attempts at entering the passcode.
“What Apple is being asked to do is to create a new thing, a new technology in order to circumvent their own technology,” said Chad Jones, founder and CEO of Push Interactions.
Apple isn’t budging though with the CEO Tim Cook saying creating a “backdoor” to the Apple’s operating system would be a backdoor for everyone both good and bad.
Here is just a portion of the company’s statement released Tuesday:
“The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers – including tens of millions of American citizens – from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals.”
Jones says hackers could even recover deleted files on an iPhone from up to five years ago.
“On a lot of phones when you delete a file, it’s actually still there it’s just not visible to the user.”
In some cases, it’s taken the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) up to a year to access devices that are commonly recovered as part of a case.
“Units like the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit that’s their bread and butter is seizing devices and examining the hard drives for any evidence they can find,” said Insp. Dave Haye of the Saskatoon Police Service.
The force even has a technological crimes unit where two investigators equipped with a search warrant spend their days unlocking devices and according to Haye, SPS has yet to seek out assistance from an agency other than another arm of the law.
“You just keep going until you get it.”
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