FBI May Not Need Apple’s Help to Unlock iPhone

[ The New York Times ] Katie Benner and Matt Apuzzo:

In a new court filing, the government said an outside party had demonstrated a way for the F.B.I. to possibly unlock the phone used by the gunman, Syed Rizwan Farook.

Did the FBI exhaust all of its options before going after Apple? Questionable.

The emergence of a potential third-party method to open the iPhone was a surprise, as the government said more than a dozen times in court filings that it could open the phone only with Apple’s help. The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey Jr., also reiterated that point several times during a hearing before Congress on March 1.

Exhaustive is not the word I would use to describe the FBI’s search for a way to hack into the iPhone.

The FBI vs. Apple, Inc. is not over; the Justice Department will come knocking on Apple’s door again, sooner than later. If this outside party is successful at penetrating the iPhone, the black market will soon be flooded with this method/tool, and iPhones will get hacked left and right by criminals and by those in law enforcement. As soon as Apple patches that particular security hole, the FBI will no doubt start throwing punches at Apple again.

PS: I’m looking forward to Apple implementing passcode- and fingerprint-based end-to-end encryption for all of our iCloud data, soon. I don’t mind a little inconvenience for a lot of privacy and security.