Apple thinks FBI is fibbing about its inability to unlock a drug dealer's iPhone 5s in Brooklyn case

Apple thinks FBI is fibbing about its inability to unlock a drug dealer's iPhone 5s in Brooklyn case
Even though the government no longer requires Apple's help to unlock the Apple iPhone 5c used by deceased terrorist Syed Farook, it turns out that the FBI's prowess in unlocking the devices doesn't go past the iPhone 5c. And that is why prosecutors in a Brooklyn court told a federal judge that they still need Apple's help to unlock a drug dealer's Apple iPhone 5s.

The prosecutor called his demand "routine," while Apple said it was an attempt to set a precedent that could be used in the future to force it to unlock countless phones. Meanwhile, a judge in Boston presiding over a conspiracy case involving a gang, has told Apple to help the FBI open a locked iPhone that is evidence in that case.

The FBI's solution in the San Bernardino case won't work with the iPhone that is tied to the drug dealer in Brooklyn, according to Emily Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. Apple lawyers say that they don't believe that this is true. Farook's iPhone 5c was powered by iOS 9, which is a newer build than the iOS 8 used on the Brooklyn drug dealer's phone. Therefore, if the FBI's method cracked an iPhone running iOS 9, the agency should be able to use it to open an iPhone with iOS 8 installed. Apple plans on bringing this up in court as proof that the government is trying to set a precedent for future cases where a locked iPhone might contain evidence.

The drug dealer in the Brooklyn case is one Jun Feng. While the meth dealer has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, the government believes that his iPhone might contain the names of additional suspects. Feng claims that he has forgotten the passcode to the handset.

An Apple lawyer also revealed on Friday that Apple has no plans to sue the FBI to get them to reveal how they unlocked Farook's phone. The attorney said that Apple updates iOS regularly which should mean that the tech titan will be able to close the vulnerability used by the FBI.

source: NYTimes

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25 Comments

1. Topcat488

Posts: 1414; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

FBI= Fibbing Breaking into Iphone... O.o

2. engineer-1701d unregistered

Sorry apple should have helpped stop terrorists, but no you want money money money, no matter who gets hurt. Fbi does not have to tell u sh?t

8. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

That is not how encryption works, you can't just open 'one' thing, make 'one' back door, then the encryption might as well not be there. The whole privacy vs safety, and honestly, lets face it, what terrorism have they 'prevented' with the mass monitoring and whatnot they already had? none, last I checked.

12. Nopers unregistered

Apple can't break in to iPhones any faster than the FBI can, the only way is if they built a back door in to a new version of iOS and then either terrorists won't install that version or they'll go get some other encrypted device. It isn't all as plain and simple as you think.

28. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

Hey bud, it's not about that. The FBI was asking Apple to make a backdoor into ALL iPhones. That's what Apple would not stand for. Risking the privacy of every single iPhone user in the world. It's the same reason why Whatsapp recently implemented an end-to-end encryption for all their users.

33. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

yes, and that's the same point, do you really think they would be the only one's that would be able to use that back door? once the hole is there, others would use it, and encryption would be pointless..

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

so... Even apple itself isnt sure that iOS is safe now? lol last month they said "such tool didnt exist blablabla", "creating such tool may endanger other users if fall to wronghand blablabla", "iOS is so secure and we dont want to break it by making backdoor blablabla"

7. gaming64

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

I din't recall Apple calling iOS safe. Post an article about them saying it that way, then we'll talk.

9. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/it/ In case they remove the link. apple com specifically under their ipad business it section. But yes, that's marketing

19. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

this part? "Secure by design. iOS devices are secure right out of the box and deliver a great user experience"

18. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

I'm not saying Apple calling iOS safe.. but they did really sure tha iOS is secure.. read whatever article you want about it this case.. or just openhttp://www.apple.com/customer-letter/ especially this funny part "The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe."

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 21619; Member since: May 28, 2014

"iOS 9 is the world’s most advanced, intuitive, and secure mobile operating system." Taken from here: http://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/ Secure = safe. From Apple's own website.

6. gaming64

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

Apple has the decision to act confident to the FBI. I think both sides are just ridiculous as they are.

10. Plutonium239

Posts: 1183; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

IOS 9 may have a vulnerability that IOS 8 does not have. An exploit that works in one new piece of software may not necessarily work on the software that it replaced. This is common sense and new software opens up new vulnerabilities frequently, but it also patches old software.

13. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

I'm not surprised they cant open the 5s - that has the Secure Enclave built into the processor for Touch ID (and hence the passcode lock)

16. Shocky unregistered

Not sure I really give a s**t anymore.

20. tedkord

Posts: 17207; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

So, the FBI is saying that newer iPhones are secure, and apple is insisting that they aren't, that all iPhones are vulnerable. Good strategy, Apple!

21. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

So iOS isn't secure? I don't get it. I know, who you gonna call? Techie! Please explain it to me, i need an essay about iOS security

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 30906; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I don't think the FBI even remotely cares what Apple "thinks". I'll say this though, Apple better not need them to investigate anything any time soon.

26. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

If it is Android, FBI would have no problem unlocking it....

27. Awalker

Posts: 1968; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Sure, if the phone has no passcode.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17207; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They'd have the exact same trouble they're having with the iPhone.

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 30906; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You posted that for green thumbs

36. dazed1

Posts: 789; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

WTF, pretty sure they get into the phone, and it was already posted 2 times, and now again the phone is locked?

37. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

The last paragraph should be troubling for Apple customers. First, Apple says they can't even do it themselves without re-writing iOS, resting on their self-assured laurels that their security measures would keep the feds out... Then, someone does manage to get in and they have their "OH *bleep*!" moment and want to know how the FBI contact did it. Now, Apple is saying they think this vulnerability extends beyond just being able to exploit the 5c, but have no plans on pressuring the feds for details on the method used. Thus, once again resting on their self-assured laurels that their update procedures will close this vulnerability. The problem being that if they overlooked this exploit in the past they can just as easily overlook it again. While a future patch may close the hole, there's no telling if they'll catch it in one update, or in some update down the line, if ever... And, they aren't even seeking the details which could save time in pin-pointing the error, all the while admitting that it may be more widespread.

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