Turkey Is Reportedly Asking Apple’s Help In Unlocking iPhone Of Russian Ambassador’s Killer

Left: [Shutterstock - KP Photograph] Right: [Photo credit: HASIM KILIC/AFP/Getty Images]

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Turkish and Russian authorities are trying to unlock the iPhone 4S of the killer who assassinated Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov.

Turkey reportedly asked Apple if it would decrypt the password of smartphone found on the gunman’s person following the terrorist attack, according to MacReports.

Another Apple-focused blog, 9to5Mac, disputes this report that Apple has been asked to unlock the device, but does state that Russia and Turkey are trying to crack the code. (RELATED: A Photographer Caught The Exact Moment A Terrorist Gunned Down A Russian Ambassador)

The now-deceased perpetrator, Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, was an officer for the Ankara police force who attended the opening event of an art gallery by reportedly pretending to be Karlov’s official bodyguard.

After the shooting, Altintas shouted Islamist-affiliated slogans with his just-fired gun still drawn. Authorites from both countries are trying to find further information on Altintas, such as possible ties to terrorist organizations.

Russia is planning on sending a special team of technical experts to Turkey to help decode the four-digit password needed to unlock the mobile device. Russian attempts to decipher the passcode have been unsuccessful so far, but some data has been extracted and accessed, according to MacReports.

This situation is extremely similar to the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings in 2015. The FBI, led by Director James Comey, implored CEO Tim Cook of Apple to unlock the iPhone 5C of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two attackers (even though the technical feasibility of this is highly dubious).

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said it would not be able to unlock the phone because it would require inventing the “software equivalent of cancer,” which would potentially compromise the private information of all iPhone users.

“We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” Cook said in a letter written to Apple customers at the time.

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door,” Cook said. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

The FBI eventually gained access to Farook’s smartphone without Apple’s help.

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