Thursday Morning News

passcodes_iphone-100645268-mediumA US judge has ordered Apple to assist in the investigation of a San Bernardino shooting. Specifically, the court wants Apple to build a custom firmware file for the shooter’s iPhone 5c, which will allow the FBI to brute-force the passcode used on the device and access the contents within. Apple’s response so far has been all class: a customer letter signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook says the decision “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand”. It also opens the doors to public discussion on government interference in the security of Apple’s customers, setting a dangerous precedent in the usage of the All Writs Act.

Macworld’s discussion of the topic says that it’s an issue that will affect civil rights for a generation. Rich Mogull writes that the crux of the issue is the debate of whether large tech companies should be forced to build new tools to circumvent existing security measures. Thanks to in-built iOS security measures, brute-forcing an iOS passcode currently isn’t feasible due to a increasing lockout period after a number of unsuccessful attempts.

The Trail of Bits blog seems to think that it’s possible for Apple to create a custom version of iOS firmware that allows brute-force attacks to happen. While it all seems plausible enough, I can’t help but wonder what the reality of the situation is in terms of the feasibility of a compromised firmware developed by Apple themselves.

To be clear, it’s one device we’re talking about here, that the US Government is asking for Apple to assist in compromising. A lone iPhone 5c, which doesn’t feature Apple’s Secure Enclave security feature, which could potentially keep the security of all iOS devices going forward intact. On the other side of the coin, it’s about precedent, and what the US Government may potentially do with this in the future.

Elsewhere in the courts, a US court has upheld the decision for Apple to pay $450 million in the eBooks settlement case. The final figure still depends on a decision from the Supreme Court, as reported by AppleInsider.

Apple’s tvOS has a new trick in the form of app preview videos.

A look at Apple Music and Sonos integration from iMore says the pair were made for each other.

MacStories has a review of Monthly, a super-simple and quick budgeting app for iOS.

Microsoft’s latest iOS app is Fetch, which is a pretty cool app that attempts to identify dog breeds from a photo.

Of all the Apple Watch games to come out, Pong is one I thought we would have seen much earlier. A Tiny Game of Pong is free, on the App Store.

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