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FBI hacked into San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help

by Brandon Russell | March 28, 2016March 28, 2016 3:12 pm PST

Following an announcement that it no longer needed Apple’s help in cracking the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c, a CNBC report claims the government has officially accessed the device’s data.

It’s unclear what methods the FBI utilized in order to crack the device, but it certainly takes the spotlight off of Apple (for now). Early last week, at its iPhone SE event, the Cupertino company briefly talked about security, saying it was committed to protecting consumers from hacks. Basically, Apple and its executives weren’t backing down.

The FBI had previously requested a judge force Apple to create a version of iOS—something Apple dubbed GovOS—that would allow government officials to make brute force efforts to get through Apple’s lock screen security. On a normal device, if you make too many wrong guesses, a device will wipe itself, something the FBI wanted to avoid.

After Apple refused to help, a company called Cellebrite stepped forward offering to uncover information on the locked iPhone. The Israeli-based company is one of the world’s leaders in digital forensics and has a history of working with government agencies.

Many people said the FBI probably wouldn’t find any useful information on the iPhone in question, but if the government does indeed come across something of note, it will only add to the encryption debate. As of now, the Department of Justice has filed a motion to vacate the order compelling Apple to help the FBI access the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.