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.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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

NT1440 Avatar
29 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
29 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
29 months ago
The takeaway: The FBI no longer needs to ask Apple to crack into phones.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
29 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
29 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
29 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)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
top stories 13aug2022

Top Stories: New Battery Percentage Icon in iOS 16, USB-C AirPods Rumor, and More

Saturday August 13, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years. Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...