FBI looks to take bite of Apple’s Encryption

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — At the University of New Haven, a class into mobile phone forensics shows the kind of information that can be pulled from a typical iPhone.

“You can grab all the text messages, calendar information, which account is associated, all the notes- voice-mails,” said student James Hebert.

It’s valuable information, especially when trying to solve a crime, or prevent one.

iPhone, especially the newer ones are tough to crack, and too many tries of the security code can result in wiping the phone of all its information.

“Going forward, what agencies are proposing is let’s build a back door,” said Dr. Abe Baggili, Family Endowed Chair, University of New Haven.

It’s what the FBI is asking Apple to do with the phone of San Bernardino shooter Sayed Farook; essentially create a master key to unlock the safe that is an iPhone.

“It’s really about the newer devices, especially apple devices, they are much more difficult to acquire forensically, it’s really more difficult to get the evidence,” said Dr. Baggili.

A master key would work on all phones, not just one. If crooks get access to it, watch out.

“The point here is that a back door from a security perspective is really not a good idea, because then you are just opening up for the bad person to steal your information, and they are doing that already,” said Baggili.

It’s a case that may set a major precedent moving forward according to Brian Kelly, Chief Information Security Officer of Quinnipiac University.

“Yeah, I think it does, depending on what happens with the courts and whether they uphold this court order or if it goes all the way to Supreme Court. Whether they compel Apple to rewrite code or to grant access or potentially give the FBI access to source code, it opens up a list of what possibilities happen next,” said Kelly.

The FBI has said that using the “backdoor technology” would be limited to the lone phone of Sayed Farook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said there is no way to guarantee that.

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