FBI considering “legal and technical options“ in a case similar to San Bernardino shooting

By , Oct 7, 2016


The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) looked into “legal and technical options” for breaking into another terrorists’s iPhone. Wired reports that potential prospect of a second legal showdown between Apple and the Bureau was raised in a statement issued today by the FBI.

The case in question involves Dahir Adan, who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month before a police officer shot and killed him. The fundamentalist militant organization ISIS claimed credit for the attack, but the  agency said “no evidence has emerged to suggest ISIS had a hand in planning or executing the attack.”

At today’s press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota, FBI special agent Rich Thorton said that the law enforcement agency has obtained the attacker’s passcode-locked iPhone. The article did not mention the exact iPhone model nor did it make it clear which version of the iOS operating system was installed on the suspect’s device.

“Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” Thornton said, “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”

The FBI is still “trying to figure out” how to gain access to the iPhone’s contents.

The very mention of possible “legal and technical options” signals that the Bureau could attempt to obtain a court order that would compel Apple to break into the device. Another (way more likely) path for the FBI: buy a zero-day exploit that would break the passcode, as it’s reportedly done in the case of the San Bernardino attack.

Many tech giants stood in support of the Cupertino firm after the FBI demanded that Apple compromise iOS security by creating a one-off version of the operating system.

The Bureau would then install such software on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c to carry out brute-force attacks on the password without any limitations.

Apple’s boss Tim Cook likened the request to “the software equivalent of cancer.”

Source: Wired

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  • Rodney Coleman

    Oh that fake shooting lol

    • Fake shooting? Is that what they call stabbing people with knives these days?

    • george


  • RoyA

    Kewlll… now Apple can valiantly defend another dead terrorist’s info while magically working with the authorities and spilling every bit of personal information when it comes to alleged file-sharers that allegedly “hurt” their pocket. one thing’s for sure… terrorists love their iPhones, i wonder what they think about the 7.

    • Uhm…

      No, Apple doesn’t protect terrorists.
      No, Apple doesn’t selectively and magically help in file-sharing cases and not others.
      No, Apple being forced by governments to build backdoors wouldn’t affect terrorists in the slightest over the long term and could only hurt law abiding citizens in the end.

      Granted, you didn’t make that last point directly, but saying terrorists love iPhones always seems to lead down a path suggesting that backdoors should be opened to gain access to phones so that criminals can’t hide behind Apple’s security. So I thought I’d just state right here up front that thinking doesn’t accomplish anything useful over the long term.

      • RoyA

        Go to TorrentFreak please and read about the shutdown of KickassTorrents/arrest of Artem Vaulin, and how Apple and Facebook played a huge part in it. Seems really “selective and magical” to me.

      • Apple has never had any secrets regarding this so to make it less magical to you I’d suggest looking at Apple’s privacy article specifically the section about Government requests.

        Apple States, “When we receive information requests, we require that it be accompanied by the appropriate legal documents such as a subpoena or search warrant. We believe in being as transparent as the law allows about what information is requested from us. We carefully review any request to ensure that there’s a valid legal basis for it. And we limit our response to only the data law enforcement is legally entitled to for the specific investigation.”

        During the last terrorist phone incident Apple also cooperated with the government to the fullest extent possible including giving them instructions on how to access backed up data (that the government in turn botched and managed to lock themselves out of). Apple is no friend of criminals, as its actions in both the TorrentFreak and the terrorist’s phone show and is more than willing to cooperate to the fullest extent possible.

        However, certain data is never available to law enforcements or governments like text messages sent and received, health data, fingerprints, and certain Apple Pay transaction details to name a few. For the simple reason that Apple designed their services to never store that data in an attempt to keep it as private as possible. So if the government wants your text messages Apple can’t help, the only way to get them is to have access to the devices that sent or received them and the big debate last time was becuase the government wanted to force Apple into building a tool that would allow anyone to immediately bypass all security on any iPhone and get full access to anything and everything they wanted from it.

        THAT is what Apple fought so hard to protect. Having the government tell apple that a known criminal used iTunes to buy some music and ask them to provide the credit card info and billing address? That’s something totally different and as Apple openly states, something that they can provide assuming that the government has the necessary legal documents.

      • RoyA

        “Apple is no friend of criminals, as its actions in both the TorrentFreak and the terrorist’s phone show…” – “Having the government tell apple that a *known criminal* used iTunes to buy some music and ask them to provide the credit card info and billing address? That’s something totally different…”

        Sorry but I have to call super BS on that part. you are trying to call file sharing a crime as a fact, but thankfully that subject is still very much debatable. the facts are: on one side we had a normative, “innocent until proven guilty” person. on the other side we had proven murderers with blood already on their hands. one side got his personal *private* info (IP address/transactions/credit card info/billing address) delivered on a silver platter in a swift and hushed up investigation, while on the other case Apple was barely cooperative and turned every request they denied from the authorities into a PR circus. you know which side received what type of treatment… and I find that fact alone as ridiculous. Apple’s approach to those issues comes off as hypocritical no matter how i try to look at it.

      • First of all I want to point out that the treatment isn’t different at all. If Apple was asked for the terrorist’s identity, credit card, address etc, Apple would have given all of that to the government. If the government asked Apple to give them all of the TorrentFreak’s owner’s text messages to them Apple would have refused since they don’t have that info to give.

        The ONLY reason there is a difference in these two stories is because of the data requested. So if there is one takeaway it’s that Apple treats these the same. Please don’t confuse crimes committed with the circumstances behind what was requested.

        Secondly, file sharing is not a crime and there is a LOT of stuff that can be freely shared. You are 100% correct in that regard. However, sharing copyrighted materials is a crime in virtually every country on earth (although it has different names in some places) and that is NOT debated. Case in point? His country agreed to extradite him.

        As far as calling him a criminal, yes technically his hearing hasn’t occurred so it is still within the realm of possibility that he can be acquitted of this whole thing. But countries don’t extradite people without substantial evidence and in this case the claims are that over $1,000,000,000 in copyrighted material was knowingly and illegally distributed through the platform with the intent to gain profit. That’s a VERY serious charge and there is at least enough evidence to have multiple countries working together to prosecute him. Perhaps he will prove to be innocent in the end but at the moment it doesn’t look good for him. And if he is proven to be guilty he will likely never see the outside of a jain ever again.

      • Gabriel Anaya

        Don’t bother with this idiot. He has his fingers in his ears.

      • I guess I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I heard all sorts of misinformation spreading about the Apple vs the government case when it was blowing up the internet originally and it’s quite possible that he just heard details from an unreliable source. Considering the sheer amount of the garbage people were claiming (like Apple sides with ISIS) it wouldn’t have been hard to walk away with a poor understanding of the issues.

    • Digitalfeind

      I stopped reading at “Kewlll”.

      • RoyA


    • Rowan09

      How has the government been treating you because on every check they take out a lot of taxes from me?

  • Rowan09

    Look I work at an airport in NYC and don’t believe all those TSA lines make you safe. This is all just a false sense of security.