Apple doesn’t consider government intrusion a primary iPhone security threat, yet

Despite the government dragging Apple to court to force the company to unlock the iPhone 5c of one of the San Bernardino shooter, engineers of the company don’t believe that the government intrusion a threat that they have to worry about, yet.


In a Q&A with reporters, Apple engineers said that they want to fend off hackers from accessing iOS and iPhones, with government intrusion not really being a cause of a concern for them.

During the interview, the engineers explained how security on the iPhone begins for Apple at the chip level itself. Unlike other smartphone OEMs that outsource chips used inside their phones, Apple prefers to design these chips in-house. Aside from offering better integration with the software and hardware, it also allows Apple to lay greater emphasis on areas that it wants to (like security). All iPhones launched since 2013 come with a Secure Enclave chip that further improves the level of security offered by them.

The engineers also questioned the theory of the strong security system of the iPhone allowing criminals to dodge law enforcement agencies. They said that strong security measures are necessary to protect users privacy, and that law enforcement agencies have access to a plethora of other data sources like location data and social media profiles and posts, which should aid these agencies in their investigation.

Apple also emphasized the role of the consumer in securing the iPhone, highlighting features like Touch ID and two-factor authentication for iCloud as ways for users to keep their devices and data safe from prying eyes. As Apple has previously highlighted, prior to the introduction of Touch ID, Apple found that only 49 percent of its customers protected their phones using a passcode. But after the introduction of Touch ID, passcode use jumped to 89 percent, Apple engineers said (users are required to set up a passcode in order to implement the Touch ID feature).

It is likely that the government will pester Apple to unlock more iPhones in the future, so it is only a matter of time before the Cupertino company takes a final decision on this matter: create a version of iOS for government agencies that disables all security measures found in iPhone or improve its security protocols further and deny all government requests. If Apple’s stance in the San Bernardino case is anything to go by, the answer is already pretty clear.

[Source]

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