FBI Hacks iPhone 5C, Drops Case Against Apple

Apple / Security / Tech
FBI hacks

The FBI hacks the iPhone 5C that has been the topic of heated debate over privacy, security and encryption these past few weeks and drops their case against Apple. So it appears Tim Cook is off the hook and Apple will have to figure out exactly what the FBI did to crack its encryption on that iPhone 5C. According to an “anonymous law enforcement official,” the DOJ won’t disclose what information it has gotten from the device and they won’t comment on whether or not they will share the method they used with Apple. As good as Apple’s encryption is, this news makes it obvious that no operating system is fully protected.

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on [terrorist Syed Rizwan] Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc.,” prosecutors wrote in the Monday filing, which does not explain precisely what was done. The government has also not explained what, if any data was recovered.

“This shows that Apple was right all along that it was not necessary for the government to make it weaken its encryption to get what it needed pursuant to its warrant,” Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told Ars. “It’s an implicit concession by the government that its All Writs Act argument wasn’t a good one.”

A short time ago, Apple released the following response, originally posted by The Verge:

From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.

We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.

Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.

This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.

While this case has brought out differing opinions from many angles, the one thing everyone agrees on is that it has opened up much needed dialogue about privacy and user security. Apple and its competition are now going to be under more scrutiny from their users regarding the security of their data than ever before. And hackers are likely going to ramp up their efforts to crack into whatever operating systems they fancy at the time. Securing user data is clearly where companies will be concentrating efforts towards from here on out. At least you would think that’s where their efforts would go.

What do you think of the FBI dropping the case against Apple? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  Source: Ars Technica
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