Why Apple shouldn’t develop a backdoor for iOS as requested by the FBI following San Bernardino events
FBI (a.k.a. USA Federal Bureau Investigation) wants one of the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C unlocked by Apple; even though it seems an easy matter, Apple doesn’t want to comply. And they have more than good reasons to do so.
First of all, Apple isn’t siding with terrorists: many big tech companies like Google and Microsoft have expressed their support. They already provided their stored backups of the device and did everything they could to help the investigators: however Cupertino does not want to decrypt the device itself by breaking its passcode protection. Since iOS 8, Apple deleted the encryption keys of their customer’s devices from their servers: in other words, not even they can access the stored data because they don’t have any way to do so anymore. As a result, the FBI is locked out of the phone and so is Apple… more or less.
Due to the security measures of iOS, FBI has requested Apple to develop a very particular version of their mobile operative system by introducing a backdoor that would let them brute force the passcode with the speed of modern computers, something they can’t do with the iOS we all know. By “brute forcing” we mean trying to input every possible combination electronically: Apple doesn’t let this happen in two ways: by wiping the data after 10 failed attempts, or by repeatedly disabling the device after too many wrong attempts. Read More…
When iOS 9 launched some users had been hit with an “error 53” message at the end of the process. Rather than updating the device, it made some Apple iPhone 6’s owners a brick. Little was known about this cryptic error: Apple only knew that it was an unrecoverable system failure and the fix was to change the device with a new one (paying for it of course).
Error 53 would show up if the home button assembly had been repaired by a third-party rather than Apple itself: this is common practice among users as third-parties ask a fraction for the service compared to Apple. A large number of users found themselves forced to pay for a replacement when iOS 9 was made publicly available, and now we know why.
The home button on the iPhone 6 also houses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. While it is extremely handy for unlocking the device, it’s also used for more important things like purchases on the App Store, Apple Pay and sometimes to access sensible information. The Touch ID sensor that comes with the iPhone has a unique pairing with the device itself: replacing the component causes this pair to fail, and locks you out permanently from using this feature at all, including all of those that depend on it. It’s meant to be a security feature to prevent that somebody could replaced the original Touch ID with a malicious one. When updating the device to a newer release of iOS additional security checks are the cause of the fatal error 53 that permanently makes the iPhone useless. Read More…