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Apple IOS security hole? [was Re: The Apple-FBI Fight Isn’t About Privacy vs. Security. Don’t Be Misled | WIRED]

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2016 11:19:25 -0500
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <56CDD80D.9070507@dbooth.org>
On 02/24/2016 10:21 AM, Timothy Holborn wrote:
> Without considering the technical concept explicitly described as
> 'backdoor', is the following a true statement?
> "“It would be great if we could make a backdoor that only the FBI could
> walk through,” says Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic
> Frontier Foundation. “But that doesn’t exist. And literally every single
> mathematician, cryptographer, and computer scientist who’s looked at it
> has agreed.”
> Source: http://www.wired.com/2016/02/apple-fbi-privacy-security/

Since I am not a security expert I won't comment on that question.

But on as a side note, it seems to me that Apple could make a simple 
change to IOS to make it *impossible* for them to do what the FBI is 
asking them to do, even if the court orders them to comply.

If I have understood correctly, the FBI wants Apple to push to the phone 
a new version of IOS that would disable the 
delete-all-data-after-10-failed-unlock-attempts feature, thereby 
enabling the FBI to use a brute force attack to unlock the phone.  But 
if Apple updated IOS to require a phone to be *already* unlocked in 
order to install IOS updates, then it would be impossible for Apple to 
do that.

In fact, if Apple is currently able to disable the 
delete-all-data-after-10-failed-unlock-attempts feature by pushing an 
IOS update to a locked phone then it seems to me that that is a 
significant security hole already, which really should be patched.

Do others agree, or have I misunderstood something?

David Booth
Received on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 16:19:57 UTC

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