Cut The Crap, Apple, And Open Syed Farook’s iPhone
Apple has the ability to temporarily update the software on Farook’s iPhone and remove the three barriers to using a brute-force attack. But before any iPhone will accept new software, it checks to see if the software update has a valid signature from Apple. Because only Apple has these signatures, only Apple can update Farook’s iPhone. The FBI cannot do this without Apple’s help.
Here, the court’s order is specifically tailored to both Apple’s and the government’s concerns. First, it requires Apple to use its access to temporarily remove only the three barriers to using a brute force attack discussed above. It does not require any adjustment to the iPhone’s encryption. Second, the order requires Apple to explicitly restrict its software update so that it can only run on Farook’s iPhone and be both temporary and reversible. It does not require altering any other software or access to any other iPhones. Third, the order allows Apple to comply with the order at its own facility, if it so chooses.
In other words, the FBI wants to bring Farook’s iPhone to Apple, let the manufacturer perform the temporary update, and then allow the FBI to remotely perform a brute force attack to discover Farook’s passcode. Once the FBI has discovered the passcode, Apple simply reverses the update and returns the iPhone with its original software and contents to the FBI.