FBI vs. Apple, can more security mean insecurity?

A federal court ordered Apple to assist the FBI in unlocking an encrypted iPhone 5C that belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino terrorist shooters who killed 14 people at their workplace’s Christmas lunch last December.

More precisely, the FBI seeks to bypass the password so that it can be granted access to all the contents inside the iPhone. On privacy concerns, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to hack iPhone users, considering that helping to create a backdoor could likely be used more extensively in the future.

“The government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create,” Cook wrote in a letter. The FBI’s order “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” stressed Cook who received significant support from Resilient Systems CTO Bruce Schneier, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and former NSA, CIA chief Michael Hayden.

Inside and outside the US government, a number of cyber-security experts fear that such backdoor could eventually fall into the hands of hostile groups or States. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a backdoor could be stolen from the FBI computers, but instead that its creation within a private company like Apple makes it more vulnerable to national security threats and foreign espionage.