First, it was the FBI to break into an encrypted iPhone without Apple’s help. Around the same time, the LAPD was breaking into its an iPhone on its own. In either case, the mysterious hacks used by law enforcement did not actually break Apple’s encryption algorithms, but they allowed investigators to access data on devices that were locked.
Now we can add India to the list of parties that can supposedly break into a locked encrypted iPhone.
The minute the lockscreen security is bypassed, it doesn’t really matter that the iPhone’s encryption isn’t breached, or that a backdoor isn’t built into iOS. The invading party can extract any data from the device.
It’s not clear at this time how India hacks iPhones, and what kind of devices are susceptible to its hacks.
“As part of a programme, a tool for mobile forensics has been developed, which handles smartphones including Apple phones,” Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. The government official denied proposals to introduce a backdoor in smartphones, The New Indian Express reports.
The FBI declared legal war to Apple after the latter refused to create a backdoored iOS for the San Bernardino iPhone. The bureau ended up paying up to $1 million to a third-party to have the iPhone unlocked and dropped the court case against Apple. The LAPD broke into a newer iPhone using outside help.
However, there’s nothing to link the two hacks, and it’s not known whether any vulnerabilities discovered by the third parties who helped these law enforcement agencies are also available to the Indian government.