The Indian government can break into Apple's iPhones

The Indian government can break into Apple's iPhones
According to a recent report from The New Indian Express, the Indian government has the ability to break into Apple's iPhones.

About a couple of months ago, the FBI announced that, while Apple has refused to create an OS backdoor that would allow the government agency to break into an iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooter, the Bureau has managed to break into the encrypted handset without the Cupertino-based company's aid. Later, it was discovered that the FBI broke the handset's lockscreen security with help from Israeli software company Celebrite.

As the dust started settling on the FBI - Apple court battle, the LAPD announced that it too has managed to break into an encrypted iPhone. Like the FBI, the LAPD needed outside help to break into the iPhone, as Apple would not grant such a request. Neither the FBI nor the LAPD have disclosed exactly how they've managed to break into the smartphones. 

Now, according to India's Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian government has the ability to break the lockscreen security on Apple's iPhones. According to Prasad, the local government has developed a mobile forensics tool which has the ability to break into multiple smartphones, including Apple's iPhones. Unfortunately, the report does not include a detailed list of the smartphones that the Indian government can break into at this time. 

At this point, it's worth noting that the hacks that the FBI, the LAPD, and the Indian government make use of to get data out of Apple's iPhones aren't likely to break Apple's encryption algorithms. Instead, the tools are believed to just bypass the lockscreen security mechanism. Once that's out of the way, government officials can freely browse through the (otherwise encrypted) data on the handset.

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25 Comments

1. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Indians geniuses.

9. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Lol...

2. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Nice to hear. Indian have always be brilliant, specially at CS so not a big surprise. Proud to be Indian :D

11. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Not really a big deal though. I mean apparently everyone and their mother can break into an iPhone so a country with as much comp Sci talent as India would have 0 issues.

3. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Security via obscurity doesn't work so well outside the US...

7. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Apple better start fixing the lock screen bypass. If not, The so-called customer-centric firm which cares so well about customer security, by saying that we wont create a backdoor ourselves, but are fine with others unlocking it, shows that they aren't serious when saying they are customer-centric they must be joking. It is time that their ever loyal fan army start looking elsewhere.

10. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Are Android phones more secure then? If governments are paying thousands to unlock these phones I don't think many of us have much to worry about, just those the government are interested in.

13. 444777

Posts: 399; Member since: May 02, 2016

You never hear Android phones getting bypassed by anyone ? Ios security is weak. What do you expect from an ios which was made for kids and dummies.... Apple admits that ios were targeted for idiots.

15. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

You don't hear about it because it's so easy, like you don't hear about people walking in a straight line in the news, I just thought I'd see what genius reply that would get.

16. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Lol, I never said they are. Android phones USP is never security, and people know that. I was doing a scathing attack on the organization which boasts so much about security.

17. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

"Are Android phones more secure then?" That's called deflecting which is a technique used to turn aside painful realizations. My apologies this topic hurts you. As many, if not most, Android users would tell you... No smartphones are entirely secure. Apple themselves do not even guarantee 100% security on the iPhone, but they do work quickly address bugs and exploits that make it out into the open. However, there is a long and storied history of iPhone users claiming security superiority but that is unfortunately just a mental construct as they seek to justify living vicariously through the success of their choice of consumer brand. But I digress... Governments pay to unlock them simply because they don't inherently have access to the skills/codes themselves. There are people that do however, thus creating a supply v. demand situation giving this particular skill set value to be monetized. The fact that governments pay for this service does not detract from the fact that there are people out there with the capability of getting past iPhone/iOS security. Whether they give it away or are compensating for their abilities are irrelevant. They exist. Actually, I take that back. It is relevant. Because of the common user lack of security awareness, and the financial opportunities that arise from being able to breach security, hackers are only incentivized to increase their activities. Which in turn increased the numbers of those who can do it, again increasing the chances to be hacked. You do realize it won't just stay as a small circle within governmental agencies, right? But don't worry you'll never know because you you'll just deflect.

19. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Jimrod Android can be more secure or less secure all depend on the OEM making it. At least we dont have a false sense of security on android like you do on iphone.

20. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I don't have any false sense of security, if someone were to steal my phone I'd try to track it and remotely wipe it. I'd never presume no-one would ever be able to get into it, I'd wonder why they'd go to the effort though. :p

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I could say the exact same thing about my Android phone. I can track and remotely wipe it as well. As far as how secure they are, as someone else said, it all depends on the OEM. Motorola for years had devices with locked and signed bootloaders. There was no rooting, at best you could flash a ROM that would go back to stock once you power cycled the device. There are also devices made with the intent of rootng and rolling. To say that all Android is unsecure is ignorant. It depends on the manufacturer and if the device is intended to be rootable.

25. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Well it all will depend on hacker ultimately. If he is well experienced, he would copy your whole device on his pc or laptop. No use of wiping after that.

29. iushnt

Posts: 3160; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

"Are Android phones more secure then?" But iPhone is promoted as the most secure thing that anyone can have by Apple and their fans.

12. jsjammu

Posts: 169; Member since: Nov 13, 2014

Yeah it's called Police beat you till you either die or unlock the phone. Please....

21. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

They will give two choices, that would be like Fielding or bowling

14. Mfa901

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

this is called Indian jugaar... :p

18. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Cant break the encryption they say well for me when you are able to bypass it then you broke it. freaking cr4pple apologist..

22. SteveS

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

A claim without evidence is just a claim. They can claim anything they want. That doesn't necessarily make it true. In the event that they do have a working hack, it's only as good as the most recent OS update which in turns locks things down further.

23. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Indian goverment is not in a position where making false claim would benifit anyway. And with so many people genius at CS, it surely plausible.

27. SteveS

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

Sure, I'm not denying that it's plausible. I'm simply citing that there is no evidence to backup their claim either. There has been no high profile case, etc. Yes, there are smart people all over the world. That's not in question. It's also plausible and even more likely that they purchased their "forensics tools" from a source similar to the FBI's purchase. As for motivation for making false claims, I would challenge your assumption. India is proud of their technical community and I can see something like this as a silly bragging point for their peer countries, etc.

28. androidrocks

Posts: 63; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

I can't understand why people are so paranoid about this. Any government, be it US, or in this case India, would not simply break into a random phone and gather data. This is good for us since the governments can gather intelligence to protect their respective countries.

30. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

What of when the government is the real terrorist? Hitler once had such data (on all the jews), think such history (not even a century old) is too big to happen again? How about 9/11 that still has questions unanswered till today, with evidence backed by laws of physics and nature painting it all as an inside job ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8__64mFVes )? There's no transparency in the government, and that's nothing but dangerous. Adding this uncontrolled access to data at anytime is just asking for history to repeat itself. TLDR: Values change, the data doesn't. Ps. Speaking of Hitler, I'm really starting to believe he was sent as a divine punishment for the Jews...history shows they were being extremely cruel to messengers, murdering them 'cause they spoke against their beliefs, etc. Now these left over Jews are still creating big disorder, hiding the truth by controlling media (see the video I linked to), etc. Is it evil of me to be somewhat thankful for what Hitler did in the past?

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