FBI Director Says Method of Unlocking iPhone Can't Be Used on iPhone 5s or Newer

pat500000

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After disclosing its method of accessing the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook to a few U.S. Senators, the FBI today released a new sliver of information regarding the highly secretive invasive steps the organization has taken to get into the iPhone in question.

FBI director James Comey gave a few hints about "a tool" from a private party that it used to gain access to Farook's iPhone (via CNN).

In a speech at the Biennial Conference at Kenyon University, Comey mentioned that the tool purchased from the private party -- reportedly Israeli mobile developer Cellebrite -- only works on a "narrow slice of phones," which does not include models of the iPhone 5s and after. Although that range allows the FBI to enter into Farook's iPhone 5c, the beefed up security of the A7 chips of the 5s and onward limits the organization's ability to use Cellebrite's tool for any of its more recent security-locked iPhone cases.

After the FBI said it found a method of getting into the iPhone used in the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the Cupertino company promised it would insist on obtaining the details of the exploit if the case were to move forward. Since the Justice Department officially dropped the case against Apple, the company can't ask for that information, and Comey said the government is contemplating the pros and cons of looping Apple in on the situation.
Even though the official legal battle is over, Apple's statement at the end of the lawsuit referred to the company's continuing promise to "increase the security" of all its products as the threat against user data becomes "more frequent and more sophisticated."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: FBI Director Says Method of Unlocking iPhone Can't Be Used on iPhone 5s or Newer
Yeah okay. I thought it's for 1 phone, and you were wanting to collaborate. You suck, James CRONEY aka Hillary supporter. NOW you say it's for older than 5s? Get out of here. YOU BEEN MYTH BUSTED.
 

HEK

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tbh in this whole thing both sides have reason to disinform the public and we'll probably never know whose "truthiness" has the least bs in it.
Big difference, the FBI works for me, US citizen, taxpayer. I have a right to expect them to be truthful with me. You remember all that nonsense no one in government follows, the part about government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Oh wait, I forgot, government lies to me to keep me safe..........right...........zieg heil. That hasn't worked out so well looking at history.
 
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CarlJ

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"We tell Apple, then they're going to fix it, then we're back where we started from," he said.
Gee, FBI, it sure is a pain when the morally correct course of action is inconvenient for you. Wonder which path you will choose.

As pointed out earlier, they were loudly proclaiming they "only wanted it just for this one phone", so losing the exploit shouldn't present any problem, now that they got into that one phone, right?
 

CaTOAGU

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Not as unaware as Apple is of how to access their own device, apparently.
And why exactly should Apple employees be forced to work for the US government, doing work expressly forbidden in an Act (CALEA)passed by the US Congress and Senate.

Apple is not a law enforcement agency, it is not Apples job to break into their own devices, even if they do know how, that job is for law enforcement. If it were Apples job, then we would be one incredibly small step away from anyone being able to be forced to work for the government.
 

Shanghaichica

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So, the FBI says their method of hacking an iPhone doesn't work on an iPhone of 5S and higher, only works on "a small sliver" of iPhones, and a lot of you actually believe that huh?
They are clearly lying. Only last week they offered to help local law enforcement to hack into an iPhone 6 in Arkansas. They are now saying this because they are being scrutinised and put under pressure to reveal how they did it.
[doublepost=1460101568][/doublepost]http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...330-story.html


"The FBI has agreed to help prosecutors gain access to an iPhone 6 and an iPod that might hold evidence in an Arkansas murder trial, just days after the agency managed to hack an iPhone linked to the San Bernardino terror attacks, a local prosecutor said Wednesday
 

Gudi

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16 people died in that attack and they had every right to want to access that iPhone. Apple wouldn't (couldn't) provide the resources to do it and someone else did. If that saves one life or leads to more terrorists who can save many more, it's all worth it. It's easy to sit here from the comfort of our computers blabbing about on a message board but as soon as it's your family that's involved, your tune will change in a heartbeat.
So why argue with us, if what we say isn't what we truly believe? You could easily talk to a mirror and have this conversation with yourself. My family will never be involved in a terror attack, because those happen very rarely and only kill a few people or less. Unlike the real dangers: diabetes and heart attack. It's just wishful thinking that some day information will lead to a terrorist and prevent an attack. That's a scenario so unlikely it virtually never happens. By now some 2nd amendment gun owner may have stopped a killing spree by accidentally shooting the attacker while cleaning his gun. But no, that also never happens. All we are left with are the fatal accidents and mistakes that happen while law enforcement tries to do what you gave them every right to. Nobody should have the right to do whatever he wants for a good cause, no matter how imaginary it is.
 

colourfastt

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A hunch? 16 people died in that attack and they had every right to want to access that iPhone. Apple wouldn't (couldn't) provide the resources to do it and someone else did. If that saves one life or leads to more terrorists who can save many more, it's all worth it. It's easy to sit here from the comfort of our computers blabbing about on a message board but as soon as it's your family that's involved, your tune will change in a heartbeat.
It's nice to want things.
 
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gnasher729

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They are clearly lying. Only last week they offered to help local law enforcement to hack into an iPhone 6 in Arkansas. They are now saying this because they are being scrutinised and put under pressure to reveal how they did it.
You _can_ hack into an iPhone 6, if the user only used a four digit passcode and didn't turn the optional feature to erase after 10 incorrect attempts. You just tap in 0000, then you tap in 0001, then you tap in 0002, and after a day or two the phone is unlocked. I wouldn't exactly call it hacking. Now I must say that if that's how they unlock it, even in Arkansas they shouldn't need help for that :)

Someone in China built a little machine that can tap all your passcodes in a row one after the other, without keeping a human busy all day and night. Maybe the FBI bought one of those? More seriously, the FBI made some mistakes with this phone, so they now have some experience where they could tell the guys in Arkansas what _not_ to do. For example the trick that Apple told them to make the phone create another backup, and then going to Apple with a search warrant, which _will_ give them all the data that was backed up.
 
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ericgtr12

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The fact is Apple was owned by a third party company on their own device. This is obvious to anyone outside of the cult-like fandom of this site.
 

gnasher729

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So, the FBI says their method of hacking an iPhone doesn't work on an iPhone of 5S and higher, only works on "a small sliver" of iPhones, and a lot of you actually believe that huh?
We know that the hardware has changed from 5c to 5s, with the express intent to make the phone safer (Apple has to keep increasing security, I wouldn't be surprised if in five years time there's a hack to get into an iPhone 6 that doesn't work on 6s or 7). There have been reasonable looking blog posts explaining how an attack against _that_ phone might work, and that attack would likely not work with a 5s. So yes, I believe it, not because I trust the FBI, but because it is quite likely that right now they cannot break into a 5s.
[doublepost=1460120606][/doublepost]
A hunch? 16 people died in that attack and they had every right to want to access that iPhone. Apple wouldn't (couldn't) provide the resources to do it and someone else did. If that saves one life or leads to more terrorists who can save many more, it's all worth it. It's easy to sit here from the comfort of our computers blabbing about on a message board but as soon as it's your family that's involved, your tune will change in a heartbeat.
It was actually very unlikely that there would be any useful information on the phone. The killer made the hard drive of his computer disappear, and he destroyed two phones that he owned privately. The iPhone was his works phone. I have a works phone, and I know that my boss could at any time ask me to hand it to someone else whose phone was broken and who needs a phone more urgently by me, so if I planned a crime, you could be sure there would be no evidence of it on my works phone. Even if there was, it would then be obvious that I would destroy that phone together with the two others. You can also _erase_ an iPhone, so he might have decided to erase it instead of using a hammer.
 

ericgtr12

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Your problem is you wish what happened in San B. to happen to others, that's pretty messed up
Yes, clearly I want you all to die because we disagree. Thank you for not being hyperbolic in the least and keeping this conversation rational.
 
Yes, clearly I want you all to die because we disagree. Thank you for not being hyperbolic in the least and keeping this conversation rational.
Well, keeping it rational according to one of your recent posts, if I was in the terrorist shoes I would not want someone getting into my phone to find the rest of my terrorist cell. Just criminology.
 

gnasher729

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This was the iPhone of a known terrorist who murdered people, they had a very good reason for wanting to access it. You guys here are dealing in extremes, where you believe they have to access all or nothing.

Maybe, just maybe, they wanted to access THIS specific iPhone without the need to access millions of others. As for it not being worth it, when your son or daughter is killed I want to be the first to hear you defending access the person's device who did it. Just PM me.
Eric, your last argument is totally irrational. Things like this have to be decided by people who have a clear and objective mind. Do you think it's right to cut off someone's hand for stealing a wallet? If someone stole _your_ wallet, would you think it's right to cut of that thieve's hands? Once you are personally involved, you can't make objective decisions.

But then I think you are showing a very unchristian attitude here. You really wish that someone's child should be killed, and then instead of being quiet or trying to comfort them, you would want them to tell you if their opinions about some political discussions have changed? If my son was killed, and you asked me whether my opinion about unlocking phones have changed, I'd seriously smack you so hard you wouldn't ask that kind of thing ever again.

And of course you mention one side: Good reasons to unlock the phone (which there actually were not, as plentiful discussed). You forget much better reasons not to have the ability to unlock any phone, as the ex-NSA and FBI chief General Michael Hayden has told us. Do you think you know better than he does?
 
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ericgtr12

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Well, keeping it rational according to one of your recent posts, if I was in the terrorist shoes I would not want someone getting into my phone to find the rest of my terrorist cell. Just criminology.
Exactly, and you're all defending this specific terrorist. At the same time unwilling to admit that Apple was left with an egg on their face as a result of their inability to access the iPhone, according to their own admission.
 

gnasher729

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Apple has to love this. FBI just told everyone they need to upgrade their phones.

Apple sales/upgrades spike tomorrow ;)
Seriously, this is no reason to upgrade. Nobody can get into your phone without the passcode. The killer used a four digit passcode. If that's the only reason to upgrade, save your money and switch to an 8 digit passcode instead.
 

Shanghaichica

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You _can_ hack into an iPhone 6, if the user only used a four digit passcode and didn't turn the optional feature to erase after 10 incorrect attempts. You just tap in 0000, then you tap in 0001, then you tap in 0002, and after a day or two the phone is unlocked. I wouldn't exactly call it hacking. Now I must say that if that's how they unlock it, even in Arkansas they shouldn't need help for that :)

Someone in China built a little machine that can tap all your passcodes in a row one after the other, without keeping a human busy all day and night. Maybe the FBI bought one of those? More seriously, the FBI made some mistakes with this phone, so they now have some experience where they could tell the guys in Arkansas what _not_ to do. For example the trick that Apple told them to make the phone create another backup, and then going to Apple with a search warrant, which _will_ give them all the data that was backed up.
If a simple brute force attack could work then law enforcement in Arkansas wouldn't need the FBI's help.
 
Exactly, and you're all defending this specific terrorist. At the same time unwilling to admit that Apple was left with an egg on their face as a result of their inability to access the iPhone, according to their own admission.

Not sure how you came to that conclusion...
[doublepost=1460122350][/doublepost]
You _can_ hack into an iPhone 6, if the user only used a four digit passcode and didn't turn the optional feature to erase after 10 incorrect attempts. You just tap in 0000, then you tap in 0001, then you tap in 0002, and after a day or two the phone is unlocked. I wouldn't exactly call it hacking. Now I must say that if that's how they unlock it, even in Arkansas they shouldn't need help for that :)

Someone in China built a little machine that can tap all your passcodes in a row one after the other, without keeping a human busy all day and night. Maybe the FBI bought one of those? More seriously, the FBI made some mistakes with this phone, so they now have some experience where they could tell the guys in Arkansas what _not_ to do. For example the trick that Apple told them to make the phone create another backup, and then going to Apple with a search warrant, which _will_ give them all the data that was backed up.
Except this phone erases after 10 attempts and the data is lost.
 

LizKat

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Big difference, the FBI works for me, US citizen, taxpayer. I have a right to expect them to be truthful with me. You remember all that nonsense no one in government follows, the part about government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Oh wait, I forgot, government lies to me to keep me safe..........right...........zieg heil. That hasn't worked out so well looking at history.
I don't totally disagree, although I think you are more than a little unfair in saying that “no one” in government follows the constitutional obligation to respect the will of the people.

But you've also omitted something important in "I expect them to be truthful with me".

Which one of the third of a billion "me" in the USA am I anyway? We are all part of the public. Some of us may not be worthy of knowing all "the truth" the government may be aware of. Not all the time, and sometimes maybe not at all.

That's leaving aside the interesting matter of what and when is “the truth” anyway. I don’t want to hear my government announce “terrorists just blew up a skyscraper” when it turns out three hours later that a gas leak caused by gradual corrosion is what happened. Meanwhile who knows what a pronouncement like that would cause citizens to do against their own eventual best interests?

I actually expect government to withhold certain information from the public at certain times for assorted reasons. I also expect government to realize that in a democracy, we the people ARE the foundation of our government... so some pushback, not to say tidal waves, are par for the course when the general public believes (or suspects) that withholding information has gone too far, or that trying to get information normally considered private has gone too far.

Bottom lines here, for me: I disagreed with the government's position on Apple's requirement to create a tool to open the phone in question (never mind provide precedent to ask for it again, or to reuse it). Nonetheless I also disagree with any who now suggest the FBI (or Apple, or the firm that the FBI says it hired to break the dead terrorists' work phone) has any requirement to disclose to the public how it was done or what it found on the phone. I’m willing to let the court(s) decide which if any parties have any further obligation to anyone else in this particular matter.

That's my opinion even though I would dearly love to know how the phone was broken and what if anything was on it. But that’s just my curiosity. I don't personally believe any of those entities have any obligation to inform us and I don't think they will (although it's possible some disinformation will be put out and about, or already is, by any of the parties).

If there was nothing on the damn phone, it could be viewed as proof that the government obviously wasted a lot of people's time and money getting to that realization. Still, not to try to retrieve any info could be seen as dereliction of duty. Life is not perfect. Everyone has tasks to assign or do and in the end all any of us can do is muddle through best we can. We posting in forums need to remember it's far easier to have an opinion than to be in government and take (or omit) actions that cause the rest of us to second-guess those actions.
 

HEK

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I don't totally disagree, although I think you are more than a little unfair in saying that “no one” in government follows the constitutional obligation to respect the will of the people.

But you've also omitted something important in "I expect them to be truthful with me".

Which one of the third of a billion "me" in the USA am I anyway? We are all part of the public. Some of us may not be worthy of knowing all "the truth" the government may be aware of. Not all the time, and sometimes maybe not at all.

That's leaving aside the interesting matter of what and when is “the truth” anyway. I don’t want to hear my government announce “terrorists just blew up a skyscraper” when it turns out three hours later that a gas leak caused by gradual corrosion is what happened. Meanwhile who knows what a pronouncement like that would cause citizens to do against their own eventual best interests?

I actually expect government to withhold certain information from the public at certain times for assorted reasons. I also expect government to realize that in a democracy, we the people ARE the foundation of our government... so some pushback, not to say tidal waves, are par for the course when the general public believes (or suspects) that withholding information has gone too far, or that trying to get information normally considered private has gone too far.

Bottom lines here, for me: I disagreed with the government's position on Apple's requirement to create a tool to open the phone in question (never mind provide precedent to ask for it again, or to reuse it). Nonetheless I also disagree with any who now suggest the FBI (or Apple, or the firm that the FBI says it hired to break the dead terrorists' work phone) has any requirement to disclose to the public how it was done or what it found on the phone. I’m willing to let the court(s) decide which if any parties have any further obligation to anyone else in this particular matter.

That's my opinion even though I would dearly love to know how the phone was broken and what if anything was on it. But that’s just my curiosity. I don't personally believe any of those entities have any obligation to inform us and I don't think they will (although it's possible some disinformation will be put out and about, or already is, by any of the parties).

If there was nothing on the damn phone, it could be viewed as proof that the government obviously wasted a lot of people's time and money getting to that realization. Still, not to try to retrieve any info could be seen as dereliction of duty. Life is not perfect. Everyone has tasks to assign or do and in the end all any of us can do is muddle through best we can. We posting in forums need to remember it's far easier to have an opinion than to be in government and take (or omit) actions that cause the rest of us to second-guess those actions.
Perhaps I was a bit robust in stating no one. I should rephrase and and say no one that has achieve any high ranking power in government. There are most likely lower level people that still take their oaths seriously. However, I am hard pressed to note anyone at upper levels that has not in some way been corrupted by the arrogance of power, the corrupting influence of money, or the self righteousness of their own ego.

I have often thought the best public servant would be found in the same way we find jury members. Someone competent yet forced to spend a short time representing their fellow constituents. I would rather see a reluctant legislator and executive doing their civic duty, than a politician seeking a life time in office forced to chase political contributions to stay in office.

As to being worthy of the truth, I believe every citizen is worthy of the truth, should expect and demand it from the people that represent and serve them. I do understand the need to not reveal information during an ongoing investigation for instance. Or battle plans to military action. I do not include 50 year sealed documents from investigations. Or lies to congress or courts. Nor unduly alarming the populace with threats of terrorist attacks to further funding efforts and abridge our our civil liberty in the name of safety.

Their are so many other threats to our lives that statistically are more likely to happen every day. The undue emphasis on "terrorism" over other more likely threats is a clear indication to me that their are agendas at work, far beyond keeping me safe.

As to the matter of how the phone was opened up, I am fairly sure to my satisfaction from reading the various articles and advertisements from Cellebrite, that a device was used to reset the attempt counter after each unlock try. Thus preventing the phone from every reaching the ten count erase feature if it had been set. This would allow the attached device computer to run through the 10,000 possible codes in less than a day, unlocking the phone.

You will note this is not a backdoor, but rather a device that resets the counter and brute forces by trying every possible code. FBI knew about this, has used it before as the previous $2M in purchase orders shows. So FBI director lied to congress when he stated they had tried everything and only Apple could help. Also note the phone in the video being unlocked is a 5c.


I further conclude, by the actions of the murderers in destroying their personal cell phones and hard drive, that very little if any actionable information was obtained the the Health Department issued phone. At most it would reveal GPS data regarding the 18 minutes the law enforcement lost track of them during the chase. This was disclosed as information law enforcement was seeking in an article early on in this debate.

I further anticipated that phones with chip enclave, 5s and newer, would not be susceptible to the device used on the 5c phone. Which the FBI has now even stated. This in no way prevents the FBI in trying to help other law enforcement agencies break into newer iPhones. Nor does it indicate their ability or success rate at doing so.

From all the statements and actions taken by the FBI, it is quite clear to me that this attempt was made, using this particular phone, to induce Apple to write code to break into their own phone. Once done, would no longer allow Apple the excuse that they themselves had no means to get into iPhones. This has been a sore point with law enforcement since iOS 7 and the 5s with enclave chip.

Since unlock code is kept on those phones and not transmitted to anyone even Apple. They were no longer able to provide phone searches on court ordered phones. People should note that Apple has always complied with court orders to unlock phones. And continues to do so with data backed up in the iCloud. As do all other device manufacturers and carriers.

Apple has announced they are working on making iCloud more secure. And they are always seeking methods both hardware and software to secure the phone itself. I have noted many respondents to this issue lump all iPhones together. In matters of security, which phone, what chip, and what software are critical as to how secure the phone is. If you own a 5s, 6, or 6s phone and wish to keep your data as secure as possible use the latest iOS software and at minimum an 8 digit or longer passcode.

The major battle on security vs. access by law enforcement is yet to be had. This will be happening over the next year or two as legislation to force manufacturers to include back dorm access will be attempted. The really ridiculous part to all this commotion is that there are numerous apps and third party software that can be used to encrypt emails and messages between any phones. Those truelly hiding something of a criminal nature make use of these. In the end legislating a back door will only make it possible for all our phones to be broken into by some governments or hackers as they will know it exists and will work to uncover it.
 
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LizKat

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I have often thought the best public servant would be found in the same way we find jury members. Someone competent yet forced to spend a short time representing their fellow constituents. I would rather see a reluctant legislator and executive doing their civic duty, than a politician seeking a life time in office forced to chase political contributions to stay in office.
Yup. If a farmer had to down tools and go to Albany for three weeks of lawmaking and then just come home again to his regular job, New York State citizens would get bored waiting for the next of the now periodic rounds of prosecuting legislative leaders.

Their are so many other threats to our lives that statistically are more likely to happen every day. The undue emphasis on "terrorism" over other more likely threats is a clear indication to me that their are agendas at work, far beyond keeping me safe.
It's difficult for any agency of government now to work in anything like full sunlight, even when they're initiallly willing to try to do so. We seem to have a fear of different ideas becoming law before nightfall, to the extent of freaking out if any ideas are even desecribed in executive summary, never mind discussed. I'm sure this has a negative impact on people tasked with thrashing out how to cut a budget, for instance. None of us wants our own ox gored, some of us think we can do without certain agencies, etc. Every administration that promises more transparency starts backing off well before day 100 dawns! It's one of the reasons I sort of dread a Clinton administration, since Hillary Clinton already doesn't like the media for lo the past quarter century, and the Clintons' entourage has usually seemed to have a certain similar disdain for journalistic and public curiosity in advance of official pronouncements. It's not going to be pretty. But... not pretty during Bush-43 or Obama's runs either. To me it's a miracle the health care act ever made it to a committee never mind into law. We are not an easy citizenry to run things past, I'll say that much for gridlock.