FBI breaks into San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

Pierluigi Paganini March 29, 2016

The Department of Justice says the FBI has broken into the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, it no longer needs the help of Apple.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it has broken into San Bernardino shooter‘s iPhone and it had accessed encrypted stored on the device.

After a long battle between Apple and the FBI, the DoJ now no longer needs the company to help unlock the iPhone 5C used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

The DoJ had originally sought to force Apple in providing a method to access data on the terrorist’ iPhone device, a couple of weeks ago DOJ released a brief filing that threatens to force Apple to hand over the iOS source code if it will not help the FBI in unlocking the San Bernardino shooter ’s iPhone.

Now the El Reg published a filing made Monday to the Central California District Court that confirms prosecutors have successfully extracted data from the iPhone.

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by the court’s order compelling Apple Inc. to assist agents in search, dated February 16, 2016,” reads the DoJ request.

San Bernardino shooter iphone

The DoJ hasn’t provided details on the procedure used to break into the San Bernardino shooter ‘s iPhone, nor revealed the name of the firm that supported the FBI in the operation.

Last week security experts speculated the involvement of the Israeli mobile security firm Cellebrite.

Despite the intense legal battle between Apple and FBI, security experts have always confirmed the existence of methods to unlock the iPhone devices.

Data could have been accessed with either hardware or software techniques, this means that in the future the FBI could use the same methods in other cases, as explained by the security expert Jonathan Ździarski.

If the method used in this case turns out to be a software method, from what I see of the OS, the method could work on newer devices too.

A law enforcement official, speaking to the CNN on condition of anonymity, explained it was “premature” to say whether this method works on other Apple devices. He added that the method used by law enforcement worked on this particular phone, an iPhone 5C running a version of iOS 9 software.

Snowden always declared that the US Government has the technology to crack the security measures implemented by Apple.

Snowden in a video call at Blueprint for a Great Democracy conference accused the FBI of lying defining its declaration as absurd, in reality, he used a more colorful expression.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone,” said Snowden in video conference “Respectfully, that’s horse sh*t.”

Snowden opinion on Apple vs FBI case San Bernardino shooter

On the same day, Snowden shared via Twitter a link to an American Civil Liberties Union blog post titled “One of the FBI’s Major Claims in the iPhone Case Is Fraudulent,” which explains that the FBI has the ability to bypass iPhone protection mechanism.

The fact that the FBI was able to successfully crack the phone without Apple’s help demonstrates that tech giants need to improve their efforts to protect users’ privacy.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – FBI, San Bernardino shooter ‘iphone)

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