The FBI has seized an Apple iPhone 5C that was used by one of the terrorists involved in last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. But without the passcode, they are unable to gain any information that the phone may hold. If the security feature is set that would wipe the phone after ten wrong attempts at accessing the phone, then the potentially helpful information could be gone forever. A federal court judge has ordered Apple to create a firmware upgrade that could nullify that security feature, but Apple CEO Tim Cook will not comply stating that what the FBI wants is impossible (even though industry technologists and experts seem to think it IS possible).
In a strong pushback to the order, Tim Cook released a letter to Apple customers which included the statement, “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. We all use smartphones to store a vast amount of personal information, including our financial information and even our health data.” As well as stating that they do not have it, they said they felt what was being asked for (a backdoor) was too dangerous to create.
Jeff Pollard, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc specializing in data security and hacking, commented, “This should force consumers and creators of apps to think in broader terms about healthcare and other data used, stored and transmitted.” The Anthem Breach in 2015 was one of many incidents that remind healthcare providers and those involved with records just how vulnerable information can be.
Security must be taken seriously – from firewalls, to back-ups, to anti-virus programs and data handling procedures – all are parts of the plan to keep data stored safely.