FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley has lashed out at Apple during yesterday’s International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan, calling its engineers “jerks” and “evil geniuses” for making the bureau’s investigative work harder with strong encryption on iOS devices.

Motherboard reports that Flatley appeared to take issue with recent changes Apple made in order to make password attempts using a brute force method slower, changing the hash iterations from 10,000 to 10,000,000.

He said:

Your crack time just went from two days to two months. At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement? Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff.

He praised Israeli company Cellebrite, which is thought to have helped the FBI crack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c, for its alleged ability to counter Apple’s security protections.

“If you have another evil genius, Cellebrite, then maybe we can get into that front,” he said, facetiously coughing as he said “Cellebrite.”

Earlier in the week, FBI director Christopher Wray called encryption an “urgent public safety issue.” Apple and many other technology companies have long insisted that encryption protects their customers from hackers and authoritarian surveillance.

  • Icebox766

    Two months is sufficient time to thwart criminals, but not law enforcement. It just slows them down. So I like it if his annoyance is real, which it probably is.

  • askep3

    I don’t see how they don’t understand that any exploit they have can also be used by criminals

  • Chris Angel

    Well with the new iPhone X FBI can just force one to look at the screen.

    • FBI can also force someone to unlock iPhone 8 and under with fingerprint

      • Hobster Lobsster

        But not to type a password. Shut the iPhone off and you are good to go either with FaceID or Touch ID as the restart will ask for the password.

      • Guillermo Gonzalez

        You don’t even need to shut it down just press 5 times the power botton.

  • chjode

    Or maybe the FBI could do some actual investigative work, rather than get someone to hand over a suspect’s data…

  • Newgunnerr

    It’s all smoke and mirrors.. of course the FBI can get into any iPhone. US intelligence has hardware backdoors into everything made by big US technology companies. That includes the FBI, CIA, NSA. Every single CPU in every PC, phone etc. are ALL compromised. It would be stupid of them it they didn’t. But of course they do, the US have access to literally almost any internet connected device. Nothing is secure, enclave or not.

    Tim Cook is deep into US politics, and he’ll never get out.

    Everything is compromised, and people should know it.

    • burge
      • Newgunnerr

        Simple soul

      • burge

        Your assuming everyone is in the US, guess what they’re not And your post is making that out.

      • Newgunnerr

        No just saying apple is forced to cooperate and sign NDA

    • So what you’re saying is that the government suing apple, paying huge amounts of money to other companies to crack iPhones etc is all just for show? All those court cases where Apple defended people against “unjustified” government requests for data and won were all just a front while they secretly handed them the data under the table?

      And I suppose when Apple released multiple security whitepapers detailing how aspects of their security work proving that there’s no place for backdoors, you’re suggesting that they did that research just for show and tell and not to actually use because they have nothing better to do with their time?

      In case you haven’t realized it, we live in a representative republic here and not a socialist state which means that the government doesn’t control businesses (or at least not yet).

      • Newgunnerr

        The CIA owns the entire media. Hollywood is owned, music industry is owned, silicon valley is also owned. I’m saying maybe certain people in the FBI might not know about their partners already having access to everything. The FBI is def the least corrupt intelligence agency. Still, at the top there is the CIA & mossad controlling your reality. Look at the leaks.. if you honestly think “there is no room for backdoors” idk what to tell you honestly smh

      • Saying that the CIA owns the entire media is just blatantly untrue. Unless you’re also accusing the CIA of trying to use CNN, MSN, etc to undermine the president of the US… And even if it was true the speed at which many things are reported (often live) means that there isn’t even time for the CIA to do anything about it anyways. Not to mention, if it were really owned by them why are they all free to write articles bashing the CIA?

        And honestly if you believe everything that is leaked I don’t know what to say. Many leaks are completely fictional, I mean just look at that new book making all the headlines called fire and fury and all the verifiably false claims in that… Attibuting wrong positions to people, getting people’s names wrong etc etc etc. Leaks should always be taken with the utmost in scrutiny.

        Finally when I said there was no room for back doors, I’m specifically referring to the systems discussed in those papers. As one example despite the claims that the CIA was taking the fingerprint data from everyone’s phones it is physically impossible to do that as the hardware itself prevents any communication to that chip other than a one way communication to the processor saying that a fingerprint was a match or not. And the only component with the ability to push data to that chip is the fingerprint sensor and it has to do it over multiple steps of serialized hardware making it impossible to swap out any component and keep the system working. which means only one component can talk to it, and no piece of software or hardware can read data from it. (it’s more complicated than that obviously but you hopefully get the idea). And similarly tight systems exist for text message transfers, requests to SIRI, health data, etc etc.

  • M_Hawke

    First of all, I think Flatley is being unprofessional.

    Second of all, I think that Flatley’s “insults” are actually a complement for Apple, yes?

    • MasterShowdown


  • Satyam Panchal

    i am confuse apple software engineer are best or fbi hackers are dump af