Apple’s encryption debate isn’t over yet. Several days ago, a man assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey before turning the gun on himself. Now, Russian and Turkish authorities have asked Apple to unlock the shooter’s iPhone 4s.
A Little Background
As I’m sure you’re aware, Apple has been in this position before, when the FBI wanted Apple help unlocking a work iPhone used by one a dead terrorist involved in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA. This set off a nationwide debate as the FBI asked Apple to create a special version of iOS, dubbed “GovtOS,” to bypass built-in security features. Apple declined, with Tim Cook saying that it would be “the software equivalent of cancer.”
After a lengthy court battle, the FBI bought a hacking tool from another company and successfully unlocked the iPhone, although it didn’t recover anything of significance. Little is known about the technique used, but FBI directory James Comey said the tool can only unlock iPhones without a Touch ID sensor.
It’s extremely doubtful Apple will cooperate with foreign authorities, and the company has not made an official statement. Russia has offered to help, and is sending a technical squad to Turkey in an attempt to help. MacReports reported that Turkey has contacted Apple for its help, too.
Depending on which version of iOS the older iPhone is running, there could be any number of ways of accessing the device. For instance, Naked Security noted that with the iPhone 4s default settings, anyone could use Siri to bypass the lock screen with a certain verbal command, even if it’s locked with a passcode. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait for Apple’s official response to see if it’s willing to help.