- The Federal Bureau of Investigation succeeded in breaking into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Last December, a mass shooting and attempted bombing occurred at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA.
- Apple had refused to unlock the phone itself, citing risks to customer data and its own encryption systems.
- The FBI coup should give hospitals and providers pause about the safety of all encrypted data that they store and share on digital devices — whether iPhones, Androids or other.
What’s known is that a third party devised a means to break into the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook. What’s not clear is whether the method could be duplicated on other mobile phones and devices.
According to Healthcare IT News, the third party may be an Israeli company called Cellebrite. And if someone outside Apple was able to penetrate the iPhone’s security system, it’s likely that others will try to do so, too — potentially putting medical and patient data at risk. With recent ransomware attacks at hospitals on the East and West Coasts, this poses another layer of data vulnerability.
It also underscores the inability of HIPAA to protect patient data from determined hacktavists.
The FBI sued Apple in February after the tech giant refused to cooperate with a request to de-encrypt Farook’s iPhone, so that the agency could search for clues about the December terrorist attack.
Department of Justice officials dropped the lawsuit on Monday after the FBI unlocked the phone.