Shooter's iPhone Could Harbor 'Dormant Cyber Pathogen', Claims San Bernardino DA

DA Michael A RamosThe iPhone at the center of the ongoing encryption dispute between Apple and the FBI may contain a "dormant cyber pathogen", according to the San Bernardino county District Attorney.

The curious claim appears in an amicus brief filed by Michael Ramos with a California court on Thursday. In the document, Ramos speculates that the iPhone used by terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook "may contain evidence that can only be found on the seized phone that it was used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino's infrastructure."

The apparent threat is cited as a violation of California Penal Code Section §502, covering protections against tampering, interference, damage and unauthorized access to computer systems. The reference suggests Ramos believes that some sort of malware may be contained on the iPhone, but offers no justification for the claim, nor the odd nature of its wording.

"It sounds like he's making up these terms as he goes," said iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, speaking to Ars Technica about the filing. "We've never used these terms in computer science." Zdziarski believes that the amicus is simply designed to mislead the courts and manipulate a decision in the FBI's favor. "It offers no evidence whatsoever that the device has, or even might have, malware on it. It offers no evidence that their network was ever compromised."

The claim in the court filing is the first time that a law enforcement agency has alluded to what may be contained on the iPhone at the center of the federal investigation. It also runs counter to the FBI's main dispute with Apple that it requires assistance from the company precisely in order to ascertain its content.

Separately, a number of amicus briefs were filed on Thursday in support of Apple's stance in the dispute. The full list of submitted documents have been catalogued on Apple's website. Additionally, five families of San Bernardino victims have filed in support of the FBI.

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.

Top Rated Comments

MrTemple Avatar
81 months ago


Yeah! And monkeys might fly out of my butt!
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
81 months ago
The FBI must be allowed to rotate the widget on the carbuncle, before the whizz-bang is atomised with a spudger-wrench or else this phone will kill us all!
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
John Mcgregor Avatar
81 months ago
That iPhone also might contain porn.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jthesssin Avatar
81 months ago
This is just an "attempt" to swing this issue from "its over and done with" to something more sinister like "if we can't access it now, people will die later"....I believe Fox network tried this on the tv show "24".....
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ries Avatar
81 months ago
OMG, WHAT ARE THEY WAITING FOR? BURN IT, BURN IT NOW! THAT PATHOGEN NEEDS TO BE DESTYROYED NOW!
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JeffyTheQuik Avatar
81 months ago
It could also hold the...
Secrets to Life, the Universe, and Everything (42)
Nuclear Launch Codes (000000000 - Kennedy was afraid that he would forget them)
The lost books of the Bible (What did Moses and Jesus do on their days off?)
The highest word score possible for a good game of Scrabble (No, JXQUIZ isn't a word)
What the San Bernardino terrorists had for lunch that day (wait, that's already on Facebook)
How men can know what women are thinking (If this makes you mad, well, how was I supposed to know?)
The sports scores for every T-Ball game for the next 50 years (Back to the Future reference)
My lost homework from 8th grade (Started a downward trend that kept me off of the volleyball team)
The Lost Hits of Hansen, 2005-2015 (I do have a pirate recording of them in concert...)
Where Nicolas Cage put the roll of microfiche he found in "The Rock" (according to JHUFrank)
...
***edit*** I will be adding to the list, but it'll be in the same vein...
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...