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Recently the ongoing encryption dispute between Apple and the FBI came to an end, as the Department of Justice worked out how to unlock a secured iPhone 5c without the help of Apple technicians. Flush with this newfound know-how, the FBI has now agreed to help hack into two iOS devices involved in an Arkansas homicide case.
The devices in question are an iPhone and iPod belonging to a pair of teenagers accused of murder. Prosecutors have asked the FBI for help after the successful unlocking of Syed Farook’s iPhone. In that instance a third party forensics team was reportedly paid to hack the device; it’s not clear if the company’s services will be needed again, or if the FBI now have the ability to do it themselves.
Though it’s hardly surprising that the FBI would help with a homicide investigation, from Apple’s point of view it’s not a good sign for the security of its devices. It’s also not a comforting thought that the “dangerous” technology Apple refused to create could, in a way, already exist. It’s not clear at this time exactly which models of iPhone and iPod are in question, or which version of iOS is being used.
Apple, of course, has historically been happy to help with investigations where it can – usually on the older, less secure devices pre-dating iOS 8. But up-to-date Apple devices are supposed to be near impossible to crack without the passcode. If the FBI has found a way to do that, you can bet your bottom dollar Apple will be dying to find out how it was done in order to plug any potential security holes.