FBI Used Security Flaw Found by 'Professional Hackers' to Crack San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Rumors have suggested the FBI employed Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite to hack into the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, but new information from The Washington Post suggests it was instead done with the help of "professional hackers" at least one of which is a "gray hat" researcher that sells flaws to governments, black market groups, or companies that create surveillance tools.

    According to sources who spoke to The Washington Post, the hackers told the FBI about a previously unknown software flaw, which was used to "create a piece of hardware" the FBI used to access the phone via its passcode. The hardware in question allowed the FBI to guess the passcode through multiple attempts without erasing the iPhone.

    The method the FBI allegedly used to break into the iPhone is similar in description to the tool that it had requested from Apple. Before finding an alternate way into the iPhone, the FBI had demanded Apple create a new version of iOS that would disable the passcode security features built into the operating system.

    Apple was ordered to give the FBI software to disable the erase feature that would have wiped the iPhone after 10 incorrect guesses, eliminate the time added between entry attempts after the wrong passcode was entered, and create a way for the FBI to enter passcodes into the device electronically instead of manually.

    The FBI did not need the services of Cellebrite "in this case," according to The Washington Post's sources, despite evidence the FBI signed a $15,000 contract with Cellebrite on March 21, the same day the Justice Department asked the court to postpone its imminent hearing with Apple. The tool acquired from the hackers did end up letting the FBI access the phone, leading the case against Apple to be dropped.

    The U.S. government has not decided whether the method used to break into the iPhone will be shared with Apple, but FBI director James Comey has said the tool used to access the iPhone only works on a "narrow slice of phones" that does not include the iPhone 5s and later. Apple does not plan to sue to obtain the information.

    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 Used Security Flaw Found by 'Professional Hackers' to Crack San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone
  2. Technarchy, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016

    Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Damage control story. FUD, psy-ops / counter ops misinformation.
  3. MaulRx Suspended

    Aug 27, 2012
    Exactly what Apple didn't want to happen happened.
  4. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    And a way to make Apple look bad. "Yeah, we got into the phone that Apple said was so secure that they couldn't get into unless they wrote new software, and we did it by exploiting a security flaw."
  5. Mums Suspended


    Oct 4, 2011
  6. Benjamin Frost Suspended

    Benjamin Frost

    May 9, 2015
    London, England
    So all iPhones and iPads earlier than the 5s are now insecure.

    Your move, Tim.
  7. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    FBI hacked the iPhone but they still can't decide what to do about Hillary's email server...
  8. arggg14 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2014
    Or they used PhoneView, an app for Mac that allows one to view contacts, messages, photos, call history, etc without typing in the passcode.
  9. realeric macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2009
    United States
    But Cellebrite stock already skyrocketed... :confused:
  10. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Don't mess with the next boss ... Most likely :rolleyes:
  11. MaulRx Suspended

    Aug 27, 2012
    Wait and see. You don't tow the boss's car.
  12. kemal macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2001
  13. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    For the whole story, now with some space-grey hacker I see Hollywood plan the next blockbuster movie. Project title: "Break me if you can. "
    In your cinemas around WWDC in June
  14. AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    LoL really? what makes you think this?
    Nothing is 100% secure.... if it were we wouldn't have jailbreaking of iPhone/pad/ect.
  15. vertsix macrumors 65816


    Aug 12, 2015
    they used only the best hack from the most professional hackers
  16. vjl323 macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2005
    Western North Carolina
    That's 100% untrue. I use PhoneView - it requires the phone to be unlocked just like iTunes in order to trust the computer it is attached to. You may not remember it, but when you first ran it, like iTunes, the phone prompted you, asking if you wish to trust the Mac/PC it is attached to.
  17. paradox00 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2009
    Hardly. Apple can fix security flaws, they can't fix precedent. In court documents, Apple specifically stated that they didn't believe the FBI had exhausted all their efforts to hack the phone. This is proof Apple was right about that. Apple wanted the case to move forward (because they expected to win), but this is hardly the worst case scenario.
  18. MaulRx Suspended

    Aug 27, 2012
    Them getting into the phone isn't the issue, it's
    how it went down. Apple said they didn't want to help because of the risk of the method getting out into the wild. They could have just helped, kept it quiet and we may never have known, instead they practically dared the creation of a method that they now have no control over themselves.
  19. CarlJ, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016

    CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    No no, the FBI swore up and down that this whole deal to have Apple create a special one-off version of iOS for them was JUST FOR THIS ONE PHONE, so I'm sure they'll be handing the exploit they used over to Apple, so that Apple can fix it to protect their customers from hackers. After all, the FBI wouldn't want to contribute to evil hackers breaking into citizen's phones.
  20. IbisDoc macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2010
    Looks like there are multiple ways to hack iPhone. Not exactly a secure device, Tim.
  21. skinned66 macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    What's that old saying about lying down with dogs and getting fleas? Evidently crime can pay as long as it's the government is signing the cheque. Get your hack on folks, you never know when you might be called to serve your - or another - country.

    Credibility is a little bird that flew out of the window.
  22. wigby macrumors 68000

    Jun 7, 2007
    The security of this phone or even every iPhone 5c isn't a concern to Apple. They care about the future and that doesn't include working for the Feds. They wanted all of this happen and it's probably going exactly how they wanted it to. What did the Feds get it of it? They never cared about the one phone but they have to pretend like they do because they have already wasted so much taxpayer dollars. Now they have public sentiment against them even after they played the terrorist card.
  23. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    There might be multiple ways to hack the iPhone 5C.

    But I'm curious what the hackers would do with my iPhone 6S Plus with alphanumeric passcode of unknown length with 10 attempt wipe turned on.

    If I'm alive... the FBI could force me to use my fingerprint for TouchID. But I would just use the wrong finger a few times and make the phone require the passcode.

    If I'm dead... that's no longer a problem.

    But the FBI still has my phone with a zillion possible passcode combinations.

    Good luck!
  24. CFreymarc Suspended

    Sep 4, 2009
    Business as usual at the Bureau.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2016 ---
    Actually, when necrosis starts to set in, a fingerprint starts to distort with uneven contraction along body appendates.
  25. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    And this everyone why creating a backdoor would be disastrous. Every company that creates software has to constantly try to keep ahead of hackers.

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