Apple has resisted helping the FBI crack the iPhone passcode of the San Bernardino terrorists voluntarily, and is now opposing a court ruling in the agency's favor.
On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Sheri Pym ordered Apple to provide "reasonable technical assistance" to the FBI, prompting CEO Tim Cook to issue an opposing statement.
"We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack," said Cook, USA Today reported
"For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data."
After Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, shot and killed 14 people at a San Bernardino holiday party in December, the FBI recovered an iPhone from their vehicle.
The iPhone has a security feature that will erase all of the data from the device if 10 unsuccessful passcode attempts are made.
The FBI has requested that Apple deploy software to disable the feature, and allow the bureau to use "brute force" software that will guess at the passcode using potentially millions of combinations until it unlocks the device.
According to technology website Wired
, Apple previously maintained a kind of master key that could unlock its devices.
"But in iOS 8, Apple has essentially thrown away the key so it can’t access the data anymore. Hackers, cyber criminals, and thieves can’t access it. And governments, foreign and domestic, can’t access it either," the site explained.
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