Apple resisting FBI demand to help break into phone

Your smartphone is more secure than you may think.

iPhones are apparently so secure even the nation’s top law officers can’t break into one. The FBI is ordering Apple to change its security so agents can get information off a phone used by suspected killer Syed Rizwan Farook, who, with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.

The FBI has ordered Apple to create a back door that would allow agents to break into the phone by repeatedly guessing the passcode. Agents are unable to do that because of the iPhone’s security measure that would wipe the phone of its data if the pin code is entered 10 times incorrectly.

"This is a classic scenario where the laws and judiciaries are not keeping up with technology," said attorney James Goodnow, a partner with the law firm Fennemore Craig.

Goodnow said if Apple were to re­write code that will let agents open the phone’s contents, it cannot be closed again and that would affect every iPhone owner in the world.

"It could be used by others, including terrorists, including ISIS, and that’s the danger. If we open those up, if we open those doors, that’s the greatest danger," said Goodnow.

Dan Schiappa, a cyber­security expert for Sophos, one of the world leaders in security software, echoes Goodnow’s thoughts.

"It’s either everybody has this back door or nobody has the back door," he said.

Many law ­abiding citizens feel law enforcement should have the ability to break past the phone’s security as a homeland security threat. Schiappa said it isn’t the government we’ll need to worry about, and even if you think you have nothing to hide from the police, with as much information as we’re putting on our phones, you probably do.

"You don’t want your credit card information, your health information, your social security number, information about your family and friends. It’s not necessarily the government that’s going to use it. It’s going to be malicious hackers that’s going to use it," Schiappa said. 

There is no guarantee the FBI will be able to find information on the phone that will help in its investigation. The iPhone 5c was Farook’s work phone.

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