Apple got into a tight spot by a court order that tells Apple to help the FBI to crack the iPhone of California shooter who killed 14 people.
Apple says that it cannot access iPhones anymore. Only the owner holds the encryption key. Now this stance is put to the test as a court orders Apple to help the FBI to access the iPhone 5C of Syed Rizwan Farook who killed 14 people together with his wife in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, 2015.
The court order is actually quite smart. The judge is not asking Apple to break the iPhone encryption, rather they want Apple to disable the override the 10-tries-and-wipe feature. Apple would be able to keep its face in this case by not compromising the iPhone encryption, but just let the FBI use brute force password cracking.
How will Apple react remains to be seen. It is a very controversial topic.
The disabling of the 10-tries-and-wipe feature is kind of a back door, but it still requires password cracking software and a method of disabling that feature.
The Washington Post reports that the FBI already has some of Farook's iPhone data through the backup on iCloud. So there is already a backdoor access to data through the automatic backup. Problem is that the backup is from October. Investigators need the latest communication data ahead of the attack.
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Even if Apple disables the 10-tries-and-wipe function, it will still be a big problem to find the password, especially when there is no way to run the combinations on a super computer. The whole situation appears to be stuck unless Apple breaks the encryption to give law enforcement direct access to the iPhone.