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FBI finds "outside party" to help unlock iPhone, may not need Apple's assistance

By Scorpus
Mar 21, 2016
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  1. The battle between the FBI and Apple over the unlocking of the 'San Bernardino iPhone' has taken an interesting twist: the FBI has reportedly found another way to unlock the device, as demonstrated by an "outside party", that may not require Apple to do anything.

    In a document filed with the courts, the Department of Justice has requested that tomorrow's hearing be vacated due to this discovery.

    “On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone. Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc. (“Apple”) set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”

    The filing explains that the FBI has been researching alternate methods to unlock the iPhone 5c in question since it was obtained late last year, even while the court case involving Apple was in process. Due to the publicity the case was receiving, several third parties have contacted the FBI to present possible ways of circumventing the device's security measures, and at least one of them appears to be viable.

    With the DoJ asking for the hearing to be cancelled, the FBI will shift its focus to testing the viability of the method presented to them, and whether or not it will destroy the data stored on the phone. If the unlocking method is successful, they won't require any further assistance from Apple.

    The DoJ expects to file a status report with the courts by April 5th that will give more information on their efforts to unlock the iPhone using this new method.

    If the FBI does have a way to unlock the iPhone in question without specially-designed firmware from Apple, it suggests there is a zero-day vulnerability in the operating system running on the device. This could present a security risk to other users, and if details of the vulnerability become public, it could be used by others to circumvent the security of millions of iPhones.

    Permalink to story.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2016
  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,631   +432

    Snowden was right. Imagine that.
     
  3. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    I'm going to laugh my backside off if they do get into it and find absolutely nothing but some porn...
     
    59Teresa and Zoner1501 like this.
  4. cartera

    cartera TS Addict Posts: 296   +78

    John Mcaffee came through then with his 'super hackers'.
     
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,195   +590

    More than right. Just read or listen to what the FBI says, it's almost comical how they can come off as a hollywood power hungry FBI cliche and quote orwell's work so well at the same time.
     
    Hasbean likes this.
  6. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Enthusiast Posts: 69   +43

    Some porn, an Amazon account with a mailing address to a loft in Belgium, and then some minor chit-chat about an upcoming March 22 terror attack in Brussels...nothing of any real value.
     
    wastedkill likes this.
  7. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,184   +528

    I still want John to eat his shoe
     
    Adhmuz and wastedkill like this.
  8. cartera

    cartera TS Addict Posts: 296   +78

    Haha, too true.
     
    wastedkill and stewi0001 like this.
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,653   +523

    Hey the "Cyber-Security Legend" must of come through, or else we would have a video of the shoe being eaten.

    Now this is a big IF. IF this new organization does manage to circumvent Apple's security, what makes you think Apple won't just come up with something even better encrypted in their next generation of product? Or release an update which patches whatever holes are found by this new outside party.
     
    59Teresa likes this.
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,676   +780

    I cannot remember which one said it, but long ago one of the top code breakers in the field was quoted as saying "if it can be written, it can be broken". Even the Nazi Enigma machine was eventually broken as have been a number of very sophisticated codes and machines since that time. Yes, Edward Snowden had it right, but the government will never be willing or mature enough to admit that and allow him to re-enter the USA. So many today claim that he broke the law, thus must be punished. I can only wonder how this country would have turned out had the original framers of the revolution and constitution were treated the same way. As has been frequently said, history is written by the winners.
     
    59Teresa likes this.
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,752   +1,107

    No... if snowden was right the FBI wouldn't need Apple. If snowden was right all of Farook's communications would have been recorded and on an NSA server and the FBI could just look there.

    In fact, you may remember the story about the Immigration office specifically choosing to NOT look at Farook's wife's FB profile to prevent the perception of a stereotype. Had they looked into her and her aliases they would have found a whole pile of support for jihad. If Snowden were right, then the NSA would have caught her before she ever got here.
     
    59Teresa likes this.
  12. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,631   +432

    Yea, um, you go with that. I was simply making a reference to a recent story.
     
  13. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Guru Posts: 866   +277

    You have to remember that the NSA and the FBI are independent organizations... While they often cooperate, there is also fierce competition internally and resources from one are not always made available to the other.

    For all we know, the NSA already knows exactly what was on the phone, realized it's useless, and are simply letting the FBI continue to look like jerks in the hope that they can get the legal precedent forcing Apple to provide a backdoor.

    Now, I'm not saying that this is the case - but we know NOTHING about what is really going on, and to simply blindly trust that everything is being done with "our" best interests at heart might be a tad erroneous....
     
    MilwaukeeMike and cliffordcooley like this.
  14. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,233   +201

    I'm British and was appalled at the way the US pursued Gary McKinley. Why on earth haven't these agencies had the foresight to recruit those with the necessary skillset for just such an eventuality? The intelligence community has an inappropriate name.
     
  15. 59Teresa

    59Teresa TS Rookie

    This whole scenario is something out of a Hollywood movie or novel...
     

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