Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Apple's being sued over a security feature that can break the iPhone

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over the phone-bricking "Error 53," which has left some customers in need of a new phone.

The problem affects iPhone owners who've had third-party (read: non-Apple) work done on their phone's home buttons, which also houses the fingerprint scanner. Numerous people have reported that while the hardware seemed to be fine after the repairs, their phones became completely inoperable after updating their iOS, the operating system. Frustratingly, there doesn't seem to be a way to recover the phone after that point; the only option is to get a new device.

That obviously hasn't sat well with phone owners affected by the problem. Now, the law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC (PCVA) has announced in a press release that it's filed a class-action lawsuit to get compensation for those affected by the problem.

"The first objective is to get all the affected iPhone customers re-outfitted with working phones, and without the overwhelming costs that thousands of people are facing right now with error 53 codes and bricked phones," said Darrell Cochran, lead attorney for the suit, in a release. "That will provide immediate relief to the consumers and, in the end, it will also help Apple."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple has previously acknowledged the problem, explaining the error as a security measure in a statement to the Guardian. The firm said the error is triggered by processes that ensure iPhone's fingerprint scanner, called Touch ID, is working as it should and that no one has maliciously tampered with it. Without having Apple re-validate the sensor once a phone has been opened, the company said, it's impossible for the phone to tell whether the repair was above-board or not.

But Cochran and others are skeptical of the security argument.

"If security was the primary concern, then why did the phones work just fine, sometimes for several months, without the software update," Cochran said in the release. "Error 53 only rears its ugly head when downloading a newer version of Apple's operating system."

Independent repairers also have noted that Apple could have simply disabled the fingerprint-scanning feature in cases where it senses unauthorized repairs, but allowed the home button — and the phone — to continue working. As Jessa Jones, the owner of iPad Rehab noted, iPhones can still be secure even when users skip Touch ID or use off-brand home buttons.

"The phone is still secured (if the consumer wishes) by the passcode lock just as all phones. If the phone is stolen, it cannot be reset and activated without the original owner's Apple ID and password — i.e. it is protected from theft with the iCloud activation lock," she wrote. "But it will work. Indefinitely. You can enjoy all the other functions of the phone. You can call, and text, take selfies, connect to WiFi and check email. You can play Candy Crush and FaceTime and surf the Internet."

Apple's being sued over a security feature that can break the iPhone 02/12/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2016 7:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store

    Accidents

    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  2. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  3. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.