Why Apple should not unlock a terrorists iPhone


terrorists iPhone

I’d like to start out by saying F*CK terrorists.

UPDATE: Apple has posted a FAQ in regards to their orders good nap letter: Click here to read the Apple FAQ

The FBI is not asking for apple to unlock an iOS device that was in possession of a terrorist. They are asking Apple to circumvent their own security by hacking the operating system, the same operating system that is on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. Apple’s security and encryption is top notch for a consumer grade device. The security keys used to encrypt and decrypt your iMessages, and other transmitted data are located on your device and not on Apple’s servers. An example of this is the Touch ID chip which is a separate enclave and does not allow back and forth communication except to say yes this is the correct fingerprint or no it is not. Apple lacks the ability to see the contents of your phone. They programmed themselves out because if they had the ability then anyone would.


I will not go over the intricacies of how device security works and how amazing Apple’s iOS platform actually is. The information is out there for you to research and learn and it is more in depth than “I know someone who’s information was hacked so that means iOS is not secure” or “I know someone in government that can see everything you do”.  Apple is on our side by providing us some of the best tools to protect our personal information. I’ve included tips to help make you more secure and less prone to cyber attack at the end of this article.  Here is Apple’s white paper on iOS security.

This article is about more than Apple and what phone you use, it’s about the government forcing an American company to potentially harm your personal privacy.

This is what the FBI is asking:

Apple’s reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware. Full article here: arstechnica

Apple’s Response:

“We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. … We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country … While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products.” -Tim Cook Click here to read the full statement (worth the read)

In the end, I don’t want Apple to have the ability to see my personal information, my photos, my text messages, etc. If the ability exists for any one entity other than myself to see my private information then it exists for anyone despite any good intentions.

Closing thoughts: Going after one consumer friendly company after another will simply move the terrorists to smaller niche companies that are beyond the reach of the FBI. Thereby creating an environment that leaves no security or privacy for the average citizen and plenty of encrypted options for terrorists. Creating any vulnerability system, no matter how controlled, will be discovered giving hackers and identity thefts the same access… Eventually.

Some tips on securing yourself after this nerd comic:

 Image: XKCD Image: XKCD

Some quick security tips:

  1. Change your 4-digit pin to 6-digit or alphanumeric
  2. Set your phone to lock immediately
  3. Use your fingerprint with your phone (Although a court can order you to provide your fingerprint they cannot for a passcode or password. This can be solved by powering off your iPhone if you are afraid of it being confiscated, the next time it is turned on it will require your passcode and will not accept your fingerprint.)
  4. Use a passphrase for online passwords. EDIT: LibbyD in comments corrected me here. Read this article to learn more about creating secure passwords.
  5. Use different passwords for different sites
  6. Use Apple Pay or Android Pay (This way your credit card never leaves your wallet. I have witnessed people in line taking photos of customers exposed card numbers when paying. That person behind you in line may not be on facebook)
  7. DO NOT Jailbreak or Root your iPhone or Andriod
  8. Update your phone software as soon as it’s available. The longer an operating system is available on the market the more vulnerabilities will be found. (This is where Apple has a big advantage, every iPhone user gets the latest update as it’s released. Android users are subject to waiting for their cell carrier to release it which they tend not to do because they want you to upgrade your physical phone. So if you are on Android sticking with the Google Nexus phones, these do not wait for carriers)

Let me know if you want me to go into more detail on and I’ll write another post. Leave your comments below!

-Daniel Kuykendall

8 thoughts on “Why Apple should not unlock a terrorists iPhone”

  1. Like everyone else, I am concerned with cell phone security. It used to be fear from just the criminal element stealing my data and emptying my accounts.
    Now, the government of all entities wants the ability to snoop and pry whenever and wherever they desire, with or without a court order.
    So now that the line between criminal elements and the government is blurred, I CAN see the value of having the ability for MYSELF, and NOT the government.
    IF the government CAN elaborate to a judge reason(s) for needing access to a cellphone, then a court order to the effect should suffice for the phone manufacturer to unlock THAT, SINGLE PHONE!
    But to give the government carte blanche access via Master Password to unlock, open and access ANY phone ANY TIME THEY want is a HUGE no-no in my book.
    And to all those naysayers that are so quick to respond "If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" I say this: give me YOUR personal information and all of your family members, too. If they don’t have anything to hide, what difference does it make?
    People like that have their heads buried deep in their, ah, er, sand pit. Yeah. THAT’S it! Their sand Pit. smdh

  2. Unfortunately, that XKCD recommendation is no longer sufficient: "Modern password crackers combine different words from their dictionaries… This is why the oft-cited XKCD scheme for generating passwords — string together individual words like "correcthorsebatterystaple" — is no longer good advice. The password crackers are on to this trick…" For more info, this is a good start: http://tinyurl.com/ndgmgyy

  3. Joshua Hanley Sr.

    I fully agree I can see way too many ways that the FBI would miss use this technology and invade the privacy of the common man. And now that said I’d like to make this point,
    If the FBI needs Apple to write this code into the phones and give them a master unlock code then you know that they have already tried and failed to do it themselves and so I have to say kudos to apple for one making a device that if used correctly cannot be hacked or opened by the government and their cyber tech specialists it makes me feel better about owning one and the security of my device and two again kudos to Apple for nicely telling the government NO we won’t decrease our standards or security even for you.

  4. Elizabeth wanted me to post this message from her:
    Security is good, but I don’t think we need to run in eternal fear of terrorists or anything else. The intelligence community has an insatiable appetite for information, relevent or not, so I don’t trust that they will stop by unlocking a terrorist’s phone. If there are back doors into our devices, the next step may well be cameras to watch us embedded into the TVs; living with actions and communications (and eventually, thoughts) monitored is not a democratic way of life. -Elizabeth

  5. DO NOT UNLOCK the FBI is looking for 18 missing minutes in a timeline, the fact is these terrorists were smart enough to destroy their personal phones and the work phones info is going to be worthless.

  6. This article makes a few interesting points. Also found a few of the comments interesting. http://tinyurl.com/jmb3ea6 One commenter: "…This is a Psyopps [sic] Story. I know for a fact that the FBI already has at least 7 points of entry into all cell phones including Apple. And how do I know? Because that is what they told me at a phone cyber hack seminar…"

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