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FBI-Apple case: Investigators break into dead San Bernardino gunman's iPhone

A way of unlocking the iPhone through "an outside party" that had demonstrated such possibility without resorting to Apple's help was revealed

BBC news reporting: Despite Apple protests, the FBI has managed to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter without company's help, effectively ending a court case, according to the US justice department.

Apple had been fighting against a court order issued last month and requiring the firm to write new software that will allow state agencies such as FBI to access Syed Rizwan Farook's phone for gathering data on him.

Farook and his wife are responsible for the rampage and murder of 14 people in San Bernardino, December 2015, and they were later shot dead by local police officers. There was a connection to ISIS, US officials reported soon afterwards, stating that Farook's wife, Tashfeen Malik, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on social media on the day of the shooting.

Last week, in a statement by Eileen Decker, the top federal prosecutor in California, a way of unlocking the iPhone through "an outside party" that had demonstrated such possibility without resorting to Apple's help was revealed.

At the request of the justice department, a court hearing with Apple was delayed while the ongoing investigation was trying to find new ways of accessing the phone. At that time, Apple claimed that it had no knowledge on how to to gain access to the phone, and said it hoped that the government would share with them any cracks in security and breach points of the iPhone that might come to light.

Investigators had "a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting", Decker said.

"It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with co-operation from relevant parties, or through the court system when co-operation fails," her statement added.

Responding to the move, Apple said: "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought."

The company assured public that it would "continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated."

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

 

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

A company in Israel with Japanese ownership called Cellebrite, based in Petah Tikva, managed to break into the phone. Initially the FBI was concerned that by breaking into the Iphone the information inside will be damaged but it managed nevertheless.

Read more

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