The FBI may require the transfer of the Apple source code and the private key iOS, stated in the lawsuit the U.S. justice Department filed in Federal district court for the Central district of California. Securitylab as noted, this measure can serve as an alternative to the previous requirement to provide law enforcement access to data stored on the iPhone one of the suspects in the drug-trafficking case.
“The government didn’t force Apple to hand over source code and private key, as considered that this requirement will have company. However, if Apple would prefer this course of action, it can be an alternative solution, less time-consuming for programmers of the company”, – stated in the footnote under the text of the claim.
The U.S. justice Department has established a similar precedent in the case from 2013 against the owner of secure email service Lavabit, presumably previously used by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. As told by the founder of the service Ladar Levison (Ladar Levison) in an interview with ZDNet, in his case the American government are also required to provide “technical assistance” of the FBI to obtain data from Lavabit account, supposedly belonging to Snowden. Levison closed the service requirements after Federal agents to transfer the master key, allowing access to any data of users of the postal service.
According to the developer, with source code and private key FBI had intended to develop their own “Ghost” Lavabit which reflect service on the Internet. Using this copy, members of the security services could intercept, decrypt and analyze the traffic between Lavabit’s servers and other resources.
After receiving the private key and the source code of iOS, the government will be able to create “Ghost” versions of software that imitates a legitimate upgrade Apple software, says Levison.
Apple has not commented on the situation. A court hearing on the case scheduled for March 22.