Why the Apple vs FBI case isn’t a “win” for Apple


You’re probably familiar with the recent case where the FBI tried to force Apple to “weaken” the security of their iOS software, so that they could “unlock” and gain access to the data on a particular iPhone linked to the mass shooting in San Bernadino last year. Apple refused to comply with the court order, and posted a lengthy letter to customers outlining the reasons why they didn’t want to comply.

In the letter, Apple boast about the security of their devices and how if they were forced to make a single one of their devices “less secure” so that the FBI could access data on it, that would set a “dangerous precedent” that could mean that the FBI (or any other entity, government or otherwise) had free-range and access to ANY iOS device they wanted to in the future.

Apple had a point.

However, the FBI have today withdrawn their legal action against Apple, as a 3rd party has been able to break into the iPhone in question for them WITHOUT Apple’s help.

Apple, and many others are claiming this as a victory for Apple; Apple stood up to the FBI pressure and won.

However, I’m not so sure that Apple should be celebrating their “win” – yes, legal action against them has been dropped, BUT, there is obviously a flaw in their devices which a 3rd party was able to exploit on behalf of the FBI.

Many would say “Well that’s ok, it’s better for Apple to have a security flaw they can fix, rather than then have to put a “backdoor” into iOS”

..but the key phrase there is “a security flaw they can fix” – This assumes that the FBI are willingly going to disclose the vulnerability they’ve exploited to Apple.

Is it really in the FBI’s own interest to divulge this to Apple, so that Apple can patch the flaw? ….or rather is it actually in the FBI’s interest to NOT tell Apple, so that the FBI continue to have a way to access data on iOS devices!?

I think the latter is more likely!

…but will Apple then take action against the FBI for not disclosing a vulnerability to Apple?

This could continue to rumble on for some time folks! In the meantime, think your iOS device is “secure”? …think again!

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