FBI Reportedly Gained Access to iPhone Used by Mass Shooter in Florida After Apple Refused to Help

FBI officials have somehow managed to unlock at least one of two passcode-protected iPhones owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the perpetrator of a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida last December, according to CNN.

ios12 iphone x enter passcode
Apple provided the FBI with iCloud data belonging to Alshamrani, but it refused to assist investigators with gaining access to the iPhones. In a statement earlier this year, the company said that while it was "devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack" at the Naval Air Station, creating a backdoor into iOS would pose a national security threat.

We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users' data.

Alshamrani owned an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 5, according to The New York Times.

Apple faced a similar situation in 2016, when a U.S. federal judge ordered the company to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California. Apple opposed the order, noting that it would set a "dangerous precedent." In that case, the FBI also found a way to access the iPhone, although the method was never publicly disclosed.

Last week, exploit acquisition platform Zerodium announced that it would not be purchasing any iOS exploits for a few months due to a high number of submissions, noting that there are at least a few persistent security vulnerabilities affecting all iPhones and iPads. "Let's hope iOS 14 will be better," said Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar.

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Top Rated Comments

NT1440 Avatar
22 months ago

This is a delicate subject, but someday if we ever have a serious real-time pending catastrophe and the only way to resolve the pending catastrophe is for Apple to "break into" an iPhone and Apple refuses, they will have hell to pay.
The show 24 has truly broken American’s ability to think critically.

The ticking clock scenario is a plot device, not how real life scenarios work.

That aside. With the billions we’ve spent on “national security” you’re telling me that if the massive surveillance apparatus we’ve set up across the entire world fails to stop a plot down to the point where the ONLY way to prevent something is *unlocking an iPhone* it’s APPLE that has something to answer for!?!?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imnotthewalrus Avatar
22 months ago
i agree with Apple. Crimes were solved before the iPhone existed. If a ‘backdoor’ was created it would take zero time for it to be exploited for malicious use.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
clayj Avatar
22 months ago
The takeaway: The FBI no longer needs to ask Apple to crack into phones.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
22 months ago

What is the "Ministry of Truth?"
The Ministry of Truth is the branch of government that is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events, and redefining language to make previous government statements correct. Government must be absolute. It can not make mistakes or change its mind therefore it must correct perceived variations from what it meant and what it said or did.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stromos Avatar
22 months ago
So what knowledge did it provide? Oh wait since this whole thing was glanced over you guessed it.... nothing.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
22 months ago

Really? Cellebrite exploits get fixed by Apple after they're revealed. Should law enforcement seeking criminal evidence start with Cellebrite with the possibility the phone could be permanently hosed? Or first ask Apple?

I'd ask Apple first.
Why ask Apple? This is settled. The OS is engineered to not allow for what their asking.

“Asking Apple” is asking them to engineer a backdoor, period.

Cellebrite, amongst literally hundreds of other intelligence-linked firms develop exploits all day every day. Cellebrite in particular then markets their equipment to law enforcement all over the world. An exploit gets patched, they move on to the next.
https://www.cellebrite.com/en/advanced-services/

Apple, as iOS is currently engineered, has no secret method of bypassing iOS security. That’s by design, you can’t compel them to do something they’ve explicitly designed not to happen.

https://www.wired.com/story/cellebrite-ufed-ios-12-iphone-hack-android/

MEANWHILE, the FBI is now empowered to look through anyone’s emails AND WEB HISTORY WITHOUT A WARRANT thanks to the extension of the Patriot Act that is passing shortly. So let’s put to bed the notion that this story is anything other than US intelligence agencies trying to manufacture consent to spy on everyone at any time as is their goal.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mcconnell-patriot-act-renewal-fbi-web-browsing-history-2020-5
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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