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What Does The FBI’s Latest Effort To Break Into Farook’s iPhone Mean For Mobile Security?

One IT security expert says hackers have been finding ways into secure mobile devices for years. But could the FBI’s focus on one particular iPhone result in a new wave of hacking attacks?


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The FBI is now relying on a third party to unlock the phone left behind by one of the San Bernardino shooters. If the bureau is successful in getting into Syed Farook's iPhone 5C, you may be left wondering whether your own phone’s firewalls could be circumvented.

Mary Dickerson directs the IT security department for the University of Houston System. She says even if the FBI gets access to Farook's iPhone, that won't change the need for authorities to have probable cause and a warrant for every other case.

"Just because they have the ability to get there does not mean they have the ability to disregard the law or access any information they want just because they can," Dickerson said.

But she adds that hackers, operating outside the law, have been sneaking into secure mobile devices for years; and should the FBI bypass the lock to the most talked-about iPhone in the country, it could lead to an uptick in hacking attempts.

"Whenever anything hits the news, there's increased interest in it from both sides of the fence — both interested consumers who want to know more information about it, as well as people going ‘oh, hey, someone else did this, can I do it too?'"

Dickerson believes we won't see a hacking epidemic because the attention this story has earned will likely get more people to make their devices as secure as possible — using built-in features, like passcodes and biometrics. She also predicts this will create an even bigger market for companies that make apps and other programs to fend off hackers.

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David Pitman

David Pitman

Host & Announcer

David was HPM's local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 — when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

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