The FBI have said that they may found help from a “third party” who will be able to assist them in unlocking the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Despite Apple’s refusal to comply with demands from the FBI to unlock the iPhone and supply them with the source code – the federal agency may have found a possible way in which to hack open the encrypted iPhone without the need for Apple to cooperate.
“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone,” the Justice Department’s lawyers briefed the court. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple…set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”
The federal judge hearing the case agreed to the government’s plea to postpone Tuesday’s hearing so as to allow the FBI just enough time to evaluate the new method. The Justice Department will update the court on April 5, as reported by Reuters.
Why This Sudden Change In The Government’s Stand?
Until now, the US government had maintained that it was practically impossible for them to hack open the device in question without any assistance from the Apple engineers who had designed and developed the encryption system in the iPhone.
Apple, however, refused to comply with the FBI’s demands saying that it was an overreach by the government that could lead to disastrous consequences to consumers’ online safety and privacy. In fact, there were reports that Apple encryption engineers were ready to offer mass resignation if the government tried to force them to give into its demands.
Meanwhile, Apple lawyers seemed to have been taken aback by this sudden shift in the government’s stand on the issue. Apparently, they were oblivious to the fact that the government had been exploring other avenues to hack into the phone without Apple’s assistance, the Wired reports.
Interestingly, this has led many to believe that the government was somewhat uncertain about its chances in the legal battle. Meanwhile, there are also those who believe that this could be a part of the government’s larger ambitions of having an encryption backdoor.
Apple won’t be hurt by a ‘third party’ hack
If the government indeed pulls off the much speculated ‘third party’ stint with absolute success,it is still unlikely to hurt Apple’s public image, according to analysts monitoring the development in the Apple vs. FBA case. It will be a matter of serious concern for users’ right to privacy, though, they point out.
However, it won’t be all hunky dory for the fruit themed company either. A third party hack of its encryption system will inevitably shatter the idea that Apple creates ‘unhackable’ software.