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Home » Hacking News » US DoJ files motion to force Apple to fulfill FBI iPhone crack order

US DoJ files motion to force Apple to fulfill FBI iPhone crack order

by Nikola Strahija on February 21st, 2016 The US Department of Justice has filed a motion compelling Apple to comply with a court order to help the FBI get access of the San Bernardino murderer's iPhone.


Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were killed by police officers after the couple shot dead 14 coworkers. It's believed the pair have possible links to terrorists abroad.

On Tuesday (16th Feb 2016) a magistrate judge in central California granted an order filed by the FBI that requires Apple to reprogram Farook's iPhobne with a custom build of iOS. This custom firmware must allow FBI agents to quickly guess Farook's passcode without triggering the iOS feature that wipes the iPhone after 10 wrong PIN attempts.

According to the New York Times, Apple asked the FBI to file the aforementioned order under seal. However, when the FBI submitted its order in a public court citing the powerful All Writs Act, Apple CEO Tim Cook hit the roof: he lashed out at the "chilling" request in an open letter, and claimed the case will set a dangerous legal precedent and introduce a backdoor to iOS security. Apple intends to resist the court order and isn't in a hurry to admit that it can actually reprogram a locked iOS device with custom firmware.

"Rather than assist the effort to fully investigate a deadly terrorist attack by obeying this court's order, Apple has responded by publicly repudiating that order," DoJ prosecutors wrote in their motion (PDF).

From page 13 of DoJ's motion: ""The order does not, as Apple's public statement alleges, require Apple to create or provide a 'back door' to every iPhone; it does not require Apple to 'hack [its] own users' or to 'decrypt' its phone; it does not give the government 'to reach into anyone else's device' without a warrant or court authorization; and it does not compromise the security of personal information."

"Apple's current refusal to comply with the court's order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy." - the DoJ concludes.

I expect some serious ramifications if Apple is forced to create a custom firmware with security features disabled and wonder how long will it take for China to request a firmware build for it's own use.

The motion compelling Apple to comply with the earlier order will be considered by magistrate Sheri Pym at 1PM (PST) on March 22.


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