Apple Reportedly Working to Fix Its Vulnerability

Effort began before San Bernardino shooting, sources say
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2016 12:05 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2016 6:21 AM CST

Engineers at Apple are developing a technical fix that would make it even harder for the government to break into a locked iPhone. Sources tell the New York Times the effort began before the San Bernardino attack, and therefore well before a federal judge's order that Apple unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the killers. There's currently a vulnerability created by the phone's native troubleshooting system, which enables Apple to update software without the user's passcode being entered. The fix would close that opening; the FBI wants Apple to use the opening to shoehorn a way in via new software. The FBI has found itself unable to crack the passcode because iPhones are rendered "permanently inaccessible" after 10 failed attempts, ABC News reports.

But the FBI shouldn't hold its breath for that new software. In a Wednesday interview with ABC, Cook calls the proposed software the "equivalent of cancer," adding, "We would never write it." It's not just about a single iPhone, he says. "If we knew a way to do this that would not expose hundreds of millions of other people to issues, we would obviously do it. ... Our job is to protect our customers." The government, on the other hand, has said Cook's resistance is just a marketing ploy. As for Apple's alleged in-the-works fix, the Times notes a solution that "defeats the FBI is unworkable if it frustrates consumers." Telling someone they will lose all their photos because they forgot their passcode "is a really tough sell," says a tech analyst with the ACLU. (More Apple stories.)

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