Report: Apple may soon “fix” loophole that allowed FBI iPhone hack

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation may soon find its pathway into iPhones blocked, according to a report citing Apple engineers.

Yahoo News reported Monday that Apple engineers are working to identify a security loophole. That loophole allowed a mystery “third party” to help the U.S. government gain access to an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino killer Syed Farook.

Once the loophole is found, engineers said, the tech firm “will be able to fix the encryption.”

Apple has long touted its encryption as rock-solid but that perception has suffered in the wake of a surprise announcement that the FBI was able to crack into Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s help.

Prior to that development, the FBI and Apple had been locked in an escalating legal battle, with the FBI trying to force Apple to help it hack the device and Apple refusing to comply. CEO Tim Cook, in a statement posted on the company’s website, argued that such a move would undermine encryption by creating a backdoor that could potentially be used on other future devices.

As Apple engineers work to figure out how the FBI succeeded, the FBI has begun offering help to local police departments, including one investigating a murder case. This may be possible in part because, according to CBS News, the FBI actually now owns proprietary rights to the hacking method it used in the San Bernardino case.

Should Apple find a fix quickly, local law enforcement excited about seeking help from the FBI in finding evidence on locked Apple devices, may suddenly find that avenue closed to them.

Yahoo News suggested that, should the FBI continue to help local police forces unlock iPhones, it “could soon be forced to reveal its methods under cross-examination in court.”

In December of 2015, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were shot dead after killing 14 people in San Bernardino, California.