The legal case between the government and Apple has finally been dropped after the FBI was successfully able to unlock the iPhone used by the terrorist in the San Bernardino shooting.
However, even though the Department of Justice will not be further pursuing the legal right to have Apple create a software that could open the smartphone, that doesn't mean that the case isn't still lingering on outside of the courtroom.
For example, the FBI has not yet made a decision on whether or not it will share with Apple how exactly it hacked into the iPhone. Of course, it should be cautious about this since Apple could then turn around and use the information to better protect its devices, and it doesn't have to give up its secret if it doesn't want to.
However, the government agency has released some details about its hack, revealing that it only works on a "narrow slice of phones," including the iPhone 5c.
During a speech at Kenyon College in Ohio, FBI director James Comey stated that the hack used was provided by an outside private party and doesn't work on all iPhones. It will not work on newer models or even the iPhone 5s, meaning that, if a situation like this came up again right now involving an iPhone 6s, Apple would probably be taken to court again.
Comey said that the "tool" purchased by the government from the private party worked in this case only because the device is an older model, the iPhone 5c. However, the phone that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the two shooters, was running on iOS 9 and was still able to get hacked. Therefore, it appears that whatever tool was used can work on newer operating systems, just not newer devices.
Comey did not reveal how exactly the hacking tool works or who exactly this third party is, although there is suspicion that it is an Israeli company named Cellebrite. This has not been confirmed.
The FBI director did say that he is confident that the company's "motivations align with ours," and will continue to keep the hack a secret.
We are sure that the encryption and privacy debate will continue to make headlines in the future.
Source: CNN Money
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr