Sometimes, even the cops need a helping hand. According to reports from CNET, law enforcement officials across the country are having a hard time extracting data from iPhones that have been seized as evidence in investigations. Apple has been receiving requests from law enforcement officials to decrypt iPhones, and the list is long. Like seven weeks long.
Even the ATF is having trouble, with CNET’s report saying that an ATF agent spent three months last summer trying to find a local, state or federal law enforcement agency with the skills needed to decrypt an iPhone 4S before calling on Apple.
Brute force password attacks are possible on iPhones, and can be cracked fairly easily if the pin is only four or five digits. Passwords that are nine or ten digits long however can take years to crack. Apple has the ability to crack passwords with ease, a method that the Cupertino company is keeping close to their chests.
Unlocking mobile phones by law enforcement is increasing in popularity, and raises privacy concerns. If done without a warrant, the process raises Fourth Amendment concerns.
Google has a process for helping law enforcement crack Android devices, by resetting the password of the device and then handing it over to authorities. If this process is initiated, Google also notifies the user that their device has been compromised.