The DoJ threatens to force Apple to hand over iOS source code

Pierluigi Paganini March 15, 2016

DOJ released a brief filing that threatens to force Apple to hand over the iOS source code if it will not help FBI in unlocKing the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

The battle between Apple and the FBI is going on while the debate on the case is monopolizing the media.  Last news in order of time is the warning issued by the Department of Justice (DoJ), the US authorities may force Apple for handing over the source code to the complete iOS operating system if it does not support the FBI unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

The position of Apple seems to be immovable, the CEO Tim Cook has declared that the company will refuse to help the FBI to protect its users. The idea to introduce a backdoor into its system is not feasible because could open the users to many other threat actors.

“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” he wrote in a message to Apple customers..

“We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government,” “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the US government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone,” he wrote.

“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation.”

“The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,” he wrote.

“The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe. We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack.”

It response the-the DOJ released a 43-page brief filing that threatens to force Apple to hand over the iOS source code if the company will continue refusing to create a backdoored version of its iOS operating system.

FBI wants Apple IOS source code

The company could be forced by the FBI to hand over the iOS Source Code and the Electronic Signature iPhones that could allow the execution of modified software specifically designed by the FBI to bypass security measures implemented by the IT giant.

“Apple’s Assistance Is Necessary Without Apple’s assistance, the government cannot carry out the search of Farook’s iPhone authorized by the search warrant. Apple has ensured that its assistance is necessary by requiring its electronic signature to run any program on the iPhone. Even if the Court ordered Apple to provide the government with Apple’s cryptographic keys and source code, Apple itself has implied that the government could not disable the requisite features because it “would have insufficient knowledge of Apple’s software and design protocols to be effective.”” states the document. 

“For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.”

The situation is paradoxical if we read the statement of the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, which told journalists that he would have arrested Tim Cook for not helping the FBI to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

The Apple’s lawyer Bruce Sewell expressed his position on the filling that contains requests not acceptable and defame the company.

“We help when we’re asked to. We’re honest about what we can and cannot do. Let’s at least treat one another with respect and get this case before the American people in a responsible way. We are going before court to exercise our legal rights. Everyone should beware because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth.” Sewell said in a statement

Stay tuned …

[adrotate banner=”9″]

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – San Bernardino tragedy, IOS source code)

you might also like

leave a comment