Your iPhone contains a whole lotta information about your personal life. You got your bank apps, email, text messages, phone calls, browsing history, plus all those embarrassing songs you listen to on Spotify you don’t want people to know about.
You don’t expect to get hardcore encryption security on a tiny iPhone, and when the iPhone was first released in 2007 you didn’t. Huge security holes allowed hackers to easily take over the device, but Apple learned from their mistakes, and now your iPhone is like a freaking Fort Knox for data. Even the NSA is having a hard time breaking iPhone encryption, and it’s frustrating the hell out them.
Technology Review published a great article this morning about how the iPhone has become one of the most secure devices on the market when encrypted. Speaking on the problems of hacking the iPhone for forensic evidence, Ovie Carroll, director of the cyber-crime lab at the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice said:
“I can tell you from the Department of Justice perspective, if that drive is encrypted, you’re done. When conducting criminal investigations, if you pull the power on a drive that is whole-disk encrypted you have lost any chance of recovering that data.”
The key to iOS’s incredible cryptography power is the Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm. It was adopted by the U.S. government in 2001, and now after a decade of testing, AES is considered unbreakable.
The algorithm is so powerful that not even an imaginary quantum computer would be able to crack the truly random 256-bit AES key. Which is great news for you if you got something to hide. Bad news for the government if they’re trying to find it because one of the only ways to get the data off the iPhone or iPad is to guess every PIN combo possible – which could take up to 15years to perform with advanced software if you use an 8-digit pin.
Sure the news that iOS is more secure than Fort Knox is kind of bad for law enforcement. We need to catch the bad guys and find evidence to lock them up. But now I don’t have to worry that those embarrassing pics of me wearing my speedo in a vat of hot and sticky maple syrup won’t get spread around like a Kim Kardashian sex tape.