Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower, says the unlocking procedure used by the FBI to break into the iPhone 5c involved in the attack in San Bernardino will result in new attacks on iPhones by the end of the year.
FBI’s refusal to close security holes found during iPhone hack will result in attack being globally available by year’s end,” Snowden wrote on his Twitter account.
The hacking algorithms used by the FBI cannot be used on new devices, James Brien Comey, the bureau’s director said. Last week, Apple said it had no intention to sue the bureau to find out how it hacked the iPhone 5c used by a terrorist in California.
According to Apple Insider, since the FBI revealed its success late last month, speculation regarding its method has centered around the so-called “IP Box” that first appeared last spring. That tool – which retails for less than $300 – latches onto a susceptible iPhone’s power circuitry and enters PINs over USB. When a wrong guess is detected, the tool aggressively cuts power to the iPhone’s logic board before the guess is recorded, defeating the 10-try limit. However, beginning with the iPhone 5S, PIN guesses are managed in the hardware Secure Enclave, rendering such an attack useless.
Apple attorneys said they are confident that the method used by the FBI will not be a security concern for most users, according to ZDNet.
“Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data. In the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data,”Apple initially said in the letter from Tim Cook to Apple customers.