Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) takes great care with your data and personal information – the company prides itself on this fact. Apple does a great job of preventing bad guys from getting to your credit card info but law enforcement can find it almost impossible to get information off your devices as well. Hackers (ethical or otherwise) and law enforcement officials often meet with brick walls in trying to break into Apple devices. Now, the firm has taken its privacy game a notch higher as it seeks to deter users from taking their phones to unauthorized repair shops.
You’ll remember that law enforcement officials have tried to force Apple to create a backdoor into the encryption though which they can access its devices. Apple has refused to make the backdoor and the firm has said that it can’t even access the user data – the only way the Police, FBI, CIA and others can access the data on your iPhone is to get you to hand over the iPhone to them. Now, Apple doesn’t want its customers to hand over their phones to just anybody without thinking about how the action might affect their privacy
Error 53 might be Apple’s way of protecting user privacy
People who have upgraded to Apple’s latest OS, iOS 9 might see an “Error 53” whey they try to restore the phone though the iTunes program. Error 53 seems to appear on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S Plus and it makes it practically impossible to use the devices – the dreaded Error 53 can turn your device into an expensive paperweight.
Apple, in response to outcries about the error has said that that phones with repaired or replaced home buttons are at risk of triggering error 53. The relationship between the home button and Error 53 is that the Touch ID fingerprint sensors on the latest iPhones are located around the home button. Tech experts have noted that damage to the home button or its replacement would kill the fingerprint recognition feature of the devices.
Now, with iOS 9, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to be disabling devices that have been repaired by third parties because there’s no way to fix Error 53 – the only option is to buy a new iPhone. Fortune notes that “Apple’s reasoning for the new security feature is to prevent unauthorized access by unapproved vendors to a user’s fingerprint data.”
Hackers are not giving up on Apple
Apple thinks that it can maintain the privacy of its devices by deterring people from taking their devices to third-party repair shops. However, hackers are serious about getting into the inner workings of things at the firm and the hackers are not lurking around third-party repair shops – hackers are making passes at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) employees in the hopes of getting them to reveal worker login details.
Business Insider reports that hackers have offered $25,000 to Apple employees in Ireland to get them to part with login details. One of the employees who spoke with Business Insider revealed that, “You’d be surprised how many people get on to us, just random Apple employees… You get emails offering you thousands [of Euros] to get a password to get access to Apple.”
It remains unclear what the hackers are after – they might want data on individual accounts, patents, or corporate strategy – I am tempted to think this might be less of hackers and more of corporate espionage. Whatever it is that the hackers want, they are willing to pay good money because the source revealed that “I could sell my Apple ID login information online for $23,000 tomorrow. That’s how much people are trying.”