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
35 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
35 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
35 months ago
The takeaway: The FBI no longer needs to ask Apple to crack into phones.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
35 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
35 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
35 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 trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Expected to Feature Wi-Fi 6E Like Latest Macs and iPad Pro

Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:39 pm PST by
The iPhone 15 will support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note shared this week by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley. The analysts did not specify whether the feature will be available on all models or limited to the Pro models. Apple has added Wi-Fi 6E support to a handful of devices so far, including the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Max MacBook Pro

Thursday January 26, 2023 12:14 pm PST by
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are available in Apple retail stores and are already in the hands of customers, and we picked up one of the new M2 Max machines to answer all of the questions MacRumors readers considering a purchase might have. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Yesterday, we asked MacRumors fans on...
Mac Pro 2019 Apple

Mac Pro Enthusiasts Raise Concerns Over Upgrade Limitations of Apple Silicon

Thursday January 26, 2023 6:30 am PST by
The new Mac Pro coming later this year is expected to feature the same spacious modular design as the 2019 model, but with fresh concerns over its lack of upgradeability surfacing, some users are beginning to wonder what the transition away from Intel architecture actually means for Apple's most powerful Mac. The current Intel Mac Pro that Apple sells is popular with creative professionals...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...