Famed iPhone hacker explains why FBI’s backdoor request is such a bad idea


Will the new iPhone SE look more like the iPhone 5s than the iPhone 6?
Apple shouldn't give into the FBI's demands.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

When it comes to hacking the iPhone, it’s hard to find anyone with more experience breaking into Apple’s software than Will Strafach, aka Chronic.

The legendary hacker has spent years reverse engineering each version of iOS to give jailbreakers full control of the iPhone and he’s got some very important insight into the FBI’s demands that Apple hack the iPhone. 

Mainly, don’t do it!

Strafach posted his thoughts on the Apple vs FBI debate today on BGR and explained that even though the FBI doesn’t think their request would create a ‘backdoor’, Tim Cook is right when he says the federal agency is completely wrong.

“Although the passcode attempt counter on the iPhone 5c can be handled without much work, the FBI request to allow it to electronically make passcode attempts is a considerable issue,” writes Will Strafach.

“This would specifically require Apple to modify the source code of SpringBoard (which powers the lock screen) to specifically add code that enables this capability, and sign it with the company’s production certificate so that the device will run the code. The reason Apple stresses that this is a ‘backdoor’ in its statement is because the order is specifically requesting that Apple make a modification that serves no purpose other than to weaken iOS security by allowing brute force attempts.”

Apple’s battle with the FBI broke out onto the public stage this week after the agency got a federal judge to order Apple to unlock terrorist Sayed Farook’s iPhone 5c. Tim Cook refused, claiming that the software to do so does not currently exist, and that Apple should not be forced by the government to create a master key or backdoor into their system and compromise the security of millions of users.

Gaining access to the terrorist’s iPhone at all costs may seem like a no brainer, but Apple the rest of the tech world, and anyone that stores personal information on an iPhone would face serious risk from attackers if a backdoor was created.

Along with the dangers the FBI’s demand poses to the encryption of law abiding citizen’s information, Apple could also face disastrous PR consequences in other countries if the iPhone-maker loses its battle.

“Apple has been doing very well in many international markets, especially China, where the company has faced criticism with regards to security concerns,” warns Strafach. “If Apple does not try to fight this court order vigorously, it will not look good to buyers around the world.”

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  • mccheese82

    Has anyone came at this from a different angle? Use his fingerprint?