The news world be it within tech circles or not have been focused on the big encryption case of Apple vs FBI over the last couple weeks. We’ve seen debates from both sides & the outpouring of support from both companies & everyday citizens be it for or against Apple refusing to create a backdoor to get into the San Bernardino shooters iPhone.
After much back & forth debate it was revealed last week that the FBI may have had a 3rd party source who claimed to have a method to bypass the iPhone lock functionality & gain access to the device to uncover whatever data they could find. As of today the FBI has officially submitted for the cooperation of Apple in the case come to a close after claiming successful entry into the device. The FBI has yet to disclose what exactly was found on the phone or the 3rd party method involved in bypassing the phone. Stating:
Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone.
This brings the very drawn out case to a close for now… Apple will surely rebuttal with a case for the FBI to report said bypass so that they can ideally patch this method for future use. While the battle for the FBI in this case may be won the war for encryption and the governments say in what a company must do is far from over. Many have speculated the method that allowed the 3rd party & FBI access but with physical possession of the device it’s likely that they used some sort of hardware modification to gain access, if not exploiting & taking advantage of an unknown iOS bug.
However the flip side of this is that it’s public knowledge now that there is a method of some sort to access locked devices & the Justice Department for the most part has this in their possession. Whether they continue to use it in similar cases or honor their claim that this was a specific situation. Apple has yet to make a official statement regarding the breach & I can only imagine are scrambling behind the scenes to uncover this entry into their devices which while it represents one device accessed could mean many more in the future. As Apple has always stated this isn’t about the specific case & iPhone rather about their customers privacy to their data.
The case may be over but the story is far from finished.