Apple engineers believe hackers are the bigger threat to the iPhone security, not the government.
In the midst of Apple's legal battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the iPhone that was owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters, the Cupertino-based company's engineers said in a press briefing on April 15 that the government is not its primary threat when designing new security features for its iPhones. Rather, the security system of the iPhone is designed to fend off hackers.
TechCrunch reports that the engineers explained the features in the company's Security White Paper [PDF], putting emphasis on how the company safeguards its customers' data and highlighting security features, including Touch ID, Secure Enclave, two-factor authentications plus end-to-end encryption in iMessage.
A separate report from The Verge says the engineers touted that Apple has the "most effective security organization" across the globe, saying the company employs multiple layers of security for its iPhones - both on the software and hardware side.
For the software side, the Apple engineers said the iOS comes with what is known as the boot chain, ensuring that before iOS starts to boot up on iPhones, the key or certificate is validated.
For the hardware aspect, the engineers explained that protection begins with the chip packed into the phones. The iPhones are loaded with the so-called Boot ROM or the memory chip containing a secret key or certificate that can only be accessed by Apple, which means it is impossible for hackers to access it.
Moreover, rather than outsourcing their chip production, Apple likes its chips to be manufactured in-house.
The iPhone 3GS and later models implement these layers of iPhone security.
In related news, Apple has also revamped its internal security teams governing the security aspects of shipping products.