Today’s Global Ransomware Attack Justifies Apple’s Stance in the San Bernardino iPhone Case

Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times:

Law enforcement agencies may want a way into highly secure gadgets and apps to further their investigations — such as when the FBI pressed Apple last year to hack into the iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino terror attack. But the companies have repeatedly pointed out that there’s no safe way to build an entry point just for trusted government organizations.

Though the NSA hasn’t confirmed it was hacked, the purported leak of its tools shows that even supposedly secret vulnerabilities can get into the wrong hands.

“It goes back to the mafia expression,” said John Bambenek, threat research manager at Fidelis Cybersecurity. “The only way to keep a secret is for three people to know it and two of them to be dead.”

Because the potential contents of the San Bernardino iPhone involved such a high-profile and politically-charged case, Apple’s decision sounded, to some, like they were being either insensitive or overly politically correct. Most people with a technical background could see the implications if Apple was compelled to create a special version of iOS that would allow the FBI to breach that iPhone’s passcode. However, intervening time and major security breaches have proved their stance to be correct. Good for Apple to withstand political and public pressure to do what was right.