FBI paid more than $1.3 million for San Bernardino iPhone hack

By Cody Lee on Apr 21, 2016

FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday that the agency paid more to break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone than he’ll make in the remaining 7+ years of his tenure. Reuters crunched the numbers, and that suggests that the FBI paid more than $1.3 million for the hack.

That seems like a lot of money for a tool that doesn’t work on the iPhone 5s or newer, but  speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London today, the Director said that he believes it was worth it. And of course the FBI will be able to use the tool in other case involving older iPhones. Read More

 

FBI confirms a tool it bought to unlock terrorist’s iPhone 5c does not work on iPhone 5s and newer

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 7, 2016

James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of iPhones—that is, Investigation—confirmed in an interview with CNN yesterday that a tool that the agency had purchased from a third-party to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c cannot be used to bypass security protections on newer models, from the iPhone 5s onward.

This implies the tool relies on the fact that the iPhone 5c and earlier models lack hardware features like the Secure Enclave embedded in Apple’s mobile processors (from the iPhone 5s’s A7 chip and onward) which keeps encrypted sensitive information and stuff like the number of passcode attempts isolated from the rest of the system. Read More

 

T-Mobile promo takes half off any iPhone when you buy a second iPhone and add a line

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 30, 2016

In time for the new iPhone SE, which lands on store shelves tomorrow, wireless carrier T-Mobile announced a new BOGO (Buy One Get One) promotion that gives qualifying Simple Choice postpaid customers half off any iPhone when they buy a second iPhone and add a line.

Devices eligible for this promotion include all iPhones that the company currently stocks, including the new four-inch iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Certified pre-owned iPhones are not eligible for this time-limited offer, which goes live on Thursday, March 31. Read More

 

Eddy Cue: what if FBI forces Apple to spy on users via iPhone’s camera or microphone?

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 10, 2016

Not a day goes by without one of Apple’s executives reaffirming the company’s position on encryption. In a new Spanish-language interview with Univision, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, made the case against the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gaining additional surveillance powers.

Were the government to force Apple to create a version of iOS with decreased security, nothing would prevent it from seeking other concessions, Cue said.

“For example, one day the FBI may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone,” he cautioned. “Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad.” Read More

 

Video: Steve Wozniak sides with Apple in FBI fight

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 8, 2016

As a strong proponent of privacy and human rights, it is now wonder that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak would stand firmly with Apple in its fight against the FBI and the United States government regarding creating a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

Appearing on the Conan show last night, the Woz said the FBI “picked the lamest case you ever could”. It’s “worthless” to expect something’s on the shooter’s iPhone 5c that the FBI wants to break into because Verizon had already turned over all the phone records and SMS messages and law enforcement got iCloud backups form Apple. Read More

 

Apple’s Craig Federighi: creating iPhone backdoor would be ‘a serious mistake’

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2016

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering who oversees the development of iOS, OS X and Apple’s common operating system engineering team, has written an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in which he reiterates Apple’s position that the FBI’s demand that Apple create a version of iOS with decreased security would be “a serious mistake,” saying the FBI wants to “turn back the clock to a less-secure time”. Read More

 

Can’t the Feds exploit San Bernardino shooter iPhone’s chips to break into encrypted data?

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

The world’s most powerful government has locked horns with the world’s most powerful corporation in a battle that Apple implies has the potential to affect civil rights for a generation. As you know, the Justice Department gave Apple until February 26 to respond to its court order.

In it, the government is asking Apple’s engineers to create a special version of iOS that would allow brute-force passcode attacks on the shooter’s phone electronically.

Now, some people have suggested that the government’s experts could make an exact copy of the phone’s flash memory to brute-force its way into encrypted data on a powerful computer without needing to guess the passcode on the phone or demand that Apple create a version of iOS that’d remove passcode entry restrictions.

While this is technically feasible, the so-called de-capping method would be painstakingly slow and extremely risky, here’s why. Read More

 

San Bernardino victims side with FBI in iPhone decryption fight

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

Lawyers representing families of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting massacre plan to file a legal brief in support of the United States Department of Justice’s demand that Apple help unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5c by creating a one-off version of iOS to permit brute-force attacks electronically, without the phone slowing down the process or erasing its contents after 10 failed attempts.

According to Reuters, Stephen Larson, a former federal judge who is now in private practice and represents families of the victims, was contacted a week ago by the Justice Department and local prosecutors about representing the victims, prior to the dispute becoming public. Read More

 

Apple posts public Q&A on FBI request

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

In addition to an all-hands memo issued to troops Monday about the government’s demand that it create what would basically be an ‘FBiOS,’ a software backdoor to help unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, Apple has also posted a public Q&A on its website this morning, showing a company unwavering in its position that fulfilling the request would constitute a dangerous precedent.

Titled “Answers to your questions about Apple and security,” the webpage details the case and provides some more technical information about the government’s request, while also answering some of the burning questions such as whether Apple has unlocked iPhones for law enforcement in the past. Read More

 

Tim Cook writes memo to employees reiterating Apple’s stance on FBI request

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

After issuing an open letter to Apple users regarding the FBI’s request to create an iPhone backdoor to help hack into the San Bernardino shooter’s locked iPhone 5c, CEO Tim Cook on Monday reinforced his company’s position in an internal memo to troops.

According to the all-hands memo, a copy of which was obtained by John Paczkowski of Buzz Feed, Apple wants the Justice Department to withdraw a court order that would force it to create a special version of iOS with decreased security measures. Read More

 
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