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FBI may have different way to access San Bernardino shooter’s phone, may not need Apple’s hack help

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2016 at 6:36 AM
  • 21 Replies
Hold the phone – federal officials might not need Apple’s help after all.

Authorities revealed Monday they believe they've found a way to access the locked cell phone of dead San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook on their own.

With that possibility looming large, they asked the judge handling their court battle with Apple to put a Tuesday court showdown on hold.

“An outside party demonstrated to the FBI this past weekend a possible method for unlocking the phone,” DOJ spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement Monday.

“We must first test this method to ensure that it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone, but we remain cautiously optimistic,” she said.

“That is why we asked the court to give us some time to explore this option,” she continued. “If this solution works, it will allow us to search the phone and continue our investigation into the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people.”

Newman said the FBI never stopped its efforts to gain access to the phone, even in the face of Apple's refusal to comply with a search warrant.

A federal judge agreed Monday to postpone the Tuesday hearing that promised to be a closely watched contest.

The news was a welcome development to at least one family member of a victim of the Dec. 2 massacre.

"Personally, I hope that it is true. It will give a big slap in the face to (Apple CEO) Tim Cook," Ryan Reyes, the boyfriend of victim Daniel Kaufman, told the Daily News on Monday.

Reyes became a voice for those who lost loved ones in the massacre and was a guest of President Obama at the State of the Union address in January.

If the FBI succeeds on its own, it will "completely discredit all of (Cook's) anti-government propaganda reasons for refusing to follow the court order and will finally move things forward," he said.

The decision comes the same day Apple announced a new iPhone, iPad and price changes to its namesake smartwatch during an event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

The ongoing legal battle earned a mention by CEO Tim Cook during his presentation.

“We did not expect to be in this position,” he said. “But we believe we have a responsibility to protect your data and to protect your privacy.”

The government was expected to argue that it has a valid warrant to search the cell phone found in Farook’s black Lexus after the massacre – and that the All Writs Act of 1789 gave the court the power to force Apple’s cooperation.

Apple, meanwhile, was expected to argue that forcing it to create a "back door" capable of bypassing the phone's encryption would set a dangerous precedent and undermine security for millions of users.

Apple already has claimed the All Writs Act doesn’t apply in this case and new legislation is needed. It also has argued that computer code is a form of speech, and forcing the company to rewrite or weaken an operating system would violate its First Amendment rights.

“If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture your data,” Cook said in a letter to users last month.

“The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without knowledge,” he wrote.

Federal officials have scoffed at this doomsday scenario. They say Apple has complied with search warrants enforced under the All Writs Act in the past, and if the company is allowed to push back now, the public will have to change its expectations about law enforcement.

Greater privacy could come at the expense of solved case and averted attacks, they have warned.

“(What) we need to talk about as a country is we’re moving to a place where there are warrant-proof places in our life,” FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee this month.

“That’s a world we’ve never lived in before,” he said. “Until this, there was no closet in America, no safe in America, no garage in America, no basement in America that could not be entered with a judge’s order.”

In a prior filing, a federal prosecutor said Apple’s refusal to unlock the phone “appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy.”

The security at issue is included in Apple phones running iOS 8 or higher. It’s a cryptographic program that lets users set a PIN code for access and wipes data clean after too many failed attempts to guess the passcode.

The government asked Apple for software that would turn off the auto-erase and delay functions hampering its ability to guess the phone’s passcode.

Comey said if the functions are disabled, the government could use its existing computing power to guess Farook’s password in 26 minutes.

ndillon@nydailynews.com






http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/fbi-access-san-bernardino-shooter-phone-article-1.2572539?utm_content=buffer21b6d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=NYDailyNewsTw
by on Mar. 22, 2016 at 6:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Mom2Just1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 8:00 AM
I hope apple wins!
Luvnlogic
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 9:39 AM
2 moms liked this
Yeah, I figured someone out there could figure it out without Apple having to weaken its overall security. I think this was an attempted power grab by the Feds. I also doubt they'll find anything significant in his work phone. They thoroughly destroyed every other piece of digital media. Leaving a phone full of clues just sitting in a car seems unlikely. But who knows...we certainly never will. I imagine they'll claim they found something whether they do or not to continue to push for the kind of access they're wanting.
4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Mar. 22, 2016 at 9:52 AM
2 moms liked this

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  

MsRkg
by Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 11:44 AM
That is false. There is no ultimate method they could have used to unlock just this one phone without compromising the overall security of every other iPhone. What would be the unique identifier that would be used in the code to target only this phone and not other phones??

They made the right decision by standing their ground in this case. The FBI stating that they have found a way does not mean that hackers have found a way or that there is a backdoor inherently built into the code/OS.

Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  

4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Mar. 22, 2016 at 12:10 PM

I don't buy it.  They absolutely could unlock one phone.   The argument is that they do not want to be in the business of creating software at the government's bidding and believe it creates a slippery slope.  

I do believe that warrants should stand up to judicial review but once that happens the company should comply.  We have no protection guaranteed from all forms of search, we only are protected from unreasonable search.   There is nothing unreasonable with searching the phone of a terrorist.  

Quoting MsRkg: That is false. There is no ultimate method they could have used to unlock just this one phone without compromising the overall security of every other iPhone. What would be the unique identifier that would be used in the code to target only this phone and not other phones?? They made the right decision by standing their ground in this case. The FBI stating that they have found a way does not mean that hackers have found a way or that there is a backdoor inherently built into the code/OS.
Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  


MsRkg
by Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 12:35 PM
Yes that is one argument that they are making. I don't dispute that.

But the other argument in this , relies in the technology and the methodology to do this.

As someone who works in tech, there is no unique identifier that could be used in the code to work on this one phone and one phone only, that could not be manipulated to work on another device. The FBI wants Apple to compromise the security keys and encryption algorithms that is used on its devices to protect it from hackers. You do that for one device, you do it for all devices.

There is already cases and arguments being made by other courts and districts that want this technology as well if it was created, so already other law enforcement agencies and bodies are trying to use it on other devices.

Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I don't buy it.  They absolutely could unlock one phone.   The argument is that they do not want to be in the business of creating software at the government's bidding and believe it creates a slippery slope.  

I do believe that warrants should stand up to judicial review but once that happens the company should comply.  We have no protection guaranteed from all forms of search, we only are protected from unreasonable search.   There is nothing unreasonable with searching the phone of a terrorist.  

Quoting MsRkg: That is false. There is no ultimate method they could have used to unlock just this one phone without compromising the overall security of every other iPhone. What would be the unique identifier that would be used in the code to target only this phone and not other phones??

They made the right decision by standing their ground in this case. The FBI stating that they have found a way does not mean that hackers have found a way or that there is a backdoor inherently built into the code/OS.

Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  

ashellbell
by shellbark on Mar. 22, 2016 at 3:02 PM
I just want to interject to maybe help myself with a little more understanding of this with someone who seems pretty insightful on the case. Apple has, in fact, helped law enforcement get information off many phones that have an operating system that was out before IOS 7, to me, it doesn't seem like Apple is refusing to comply with a court order. The FBI is currently trying to use the All Writs Act in order to get their cooperation, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this Act refer to use what is already existing? The government can't use that Act to force the creation of something, correct? Apple doesn't have the software to break into this phone, so the Act the FBI is building their case off wouldn't be applicable. The FBI is currently trying to break into more than a dozen phones at the moment (excluding this particular phone) and this whole case seems a bit fishy because of that. The FBI had and changed the Apple ID password and had access to his cloud, they've been able to access it before. Also, both the husband and the wife destroyed their phones before their rampage, they're breaking into a work phone, I find it a little suspect that the FBI would think there's more on the phone than what they've had access to. The rampage that was carried out by these two was thought out and methodical. They destroyed evidence, I find it hard to believe the guy would be dumb enough to destroy all that but leave info on his work (and wasn't he considered a government employee?) phone. Apple makes a point, it's a slippery slope in creating a back door program. Apple is a worldwide company and the creation of that could be harmful to other places. Granted, maybe Apple can break into one individual phone, but that's yet to be proven, kwim?

Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I don't buy it.  They absolutely could unlock one phone.   The argument is that they do not want to be in the business of creating software at the government's bidding and believe it creates a slippery slope.  

I do believe that warrants should stand up to judicial review but once that happens the company should comply.  We have no protection guaranteed from all forms of search, we only are protected from unreasonable search.   There is nothing unreasonable with searching the phone of a terrorist.  

Quoting MsRkg: That is false. There is no ultimate method they could have used to unlock just this one phone without compromising the overall security of every other iPhone. What would be the unique identifier that would be used in the code to target only this phone and not other phones??



They made the right decision by standing their ground in this case. The FBI stating that they have found a way does not mean that hackers have found a way or that there is a backdoor inherently built into the code/OS.



Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  

4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Mar. 22, 2016 at 3:53 PM

You have certainly done more research than I have and yes I can see that there is an issue with forcing the company to create software.  

I'm just skeptical of their claims that they do not already have the technology in place to gain access to the phones.    

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/17/apple-unlocked-iphones-for-the-feds-70-times-before.html


But in a legal brief, Apple acknowledged that the phone in the meth case was running version 7 of the iPhone operating system, which means the company can access it. “For these devices, Apple has the technical ability to extract certain categories of unencrypted data from a passcode locked iOS device,” the company said in a court brief.

Whether the extraction would be successful depended on whether the phone was “in good working order,” Apple said, noting that the company hadn’t inspected the phone yet. But as a general matter, yes, Apple could crack the iPhone for the government. And, two technical experts told The Daily Beast, the company could do so with the phone used by deceased San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, a model 5C. It was running version 9 of the operating system.

Quoting ashellbell: I just want to interject to maybe help myself with a little more understanding of this with someone who seems pretty insightful on the case. Apple has, in fact, helped law enforcement get information off many phones that have an operating system that was out before IOS 7, to me, it doesn't seem like Apple is refusing to comply with a court order. The FBI is currently trying to use the All Writs Act in order to get their cooperation, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this Act refer to use what is already existing? The government can't use that Act to force the creation of something, correct? Apple doesn't have the software to break into this phone, so the Act the FBI is building their case off wouldn't be applicable. The FBI is currently trying to break into more than a dozen phones at the moment (excluding this particular phone) and this whole case seems a bit fishy because of that. The FBI had and changed the Apple ID password and had access to his cloud, they've been able to access it before. Also, both the husband and the wife destroyed their phones before their rampage, they're breaking into a work phone, I find it a little suspect that the FBI would think there's more on the phone than what they've had access to. The rampage that was carried out by these two was thought out and methodical. They destroyed evidence, I find it hard to believe the guy would be dumb enough to destroy all that but leave info on his work (and wasn't he considered a government employee?) phone. Apple makes a point, it's a slippery slope in creating a back door program. Apple is a worldwide company and the creation of that could be harmful to other places. Granted, maybe Apple can break into one individual phone, but that's yet to be proven, kwim?
Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I don't buy it.  They absolutely could unlock one phone.   The argument is that they do not want to be in the business of creating software at the government's bidding and believe it creates a slippery slope.  

I do believe that warrants should stand up to judicial review but once that happens the company should comply.  We have no protection guaranteed from all forms of search, we only are protected from unreasonable search.   There is nothing unreasonable with searching the phone of a terrorist.  

Quoting MsRkg: That is false. There is no ultimate method they could have used to unlock just this one phone without compromising the overall security of every other iPhone. What would be the unique identifier that would be used in the code to target only this phone and not other phones?? They made the right decision by standing their ground in this case. The FBI stating that they have found a way does not mean that hackers have found a way or that there is a backdoor inherently built into the code/OS.
Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

I think Apple could have opened the one phone which is what they were asked to do without "weakening" anything.  Now because of their lack of cooperation hackers have found away to hack into the phones which ultimately weakens they overall security that they were claiming they were so passionate about protecting.  


D-Town
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 4:27 PM

D-Town
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2016 at 4:31 PM


Okay here's a real one. 

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