FBI forces suspect to unlock his Apple iPhone X using Face ID

FBI forces suspect to unlock his Apple iPhone X using Face ID
According to Forbes, a recent investigation by the FBI resulted in the G-Men forcing a suspect to use Face ID to unlock an iPhone for the first time. It happened last month in Columbus, Ohio when the FBI called on 28 year old Grant Michalski at his home. Armed with a search warrant, the FBI forced Michalski to glance at his Apple iPhone X, unlocking the device.

Since Apple defied a federal judge back in 2016 by not unlocking the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, locked iPhones have been opened by having suspects use their fingerprints to activate Touch ID. Earlier this year, we told you about cops in Florida who raided a funeral home in order to place the finger of a corpse on his iPhone's Touch ID button.

Now, many law enforcement agencies rely on cracking machines from GrayShift and Cellebrite that use brute force techniques to unlock an iPhone. GrayShift, in particular, has been able to stay one step ahead of Apple, claiming that it solved the USB Restrictive Mode introduced in iOS 12. This prevents the Lightning port on an iPhone from being used to communicate with another device (like a cracking machine) if the iPhone hasn't been unlocked within the previous hour.

As it turns out, using Face ID didn't really help the FBI in Michalski's case. Since the passcode was unknown to the agency, it wasn't able to see everything it wanted. David Knight, the special agent who was involved in unlocking the suspect's phone, couldn't leave it unlocked long enough to use the forensic tools needed to siphon all the data out of the handset that the FBI wanted. That's because these forensic tools require a suspect's iPhone to be hooked up to a computer. And if an iPhone has been locked for over an hour, the passcode is required to sync it to a PC.

While Michalski did not challenge the use of Face ID to unlock his iPhone, some lawyers believe that a suspect can prevent law enforcement from using facial recognition to open a phone by pleading his/her fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination. In previous cases, suspects have been allowed to refuse to turn over their passcodes to the cops for the same reason. However, the body has not been ruled a part of "self knowledge," which has allowed cops to force suspects to unlock their handsets using a fingerprint scanner. This also could apply to Face ID, although there really isn't much case law that can be used to help courts make such rulings.


As for Michalski, despite the use of Face ID and a Cellebrite machine, nothing damaging to the suspect was ever recovered from his iPhone. Other devices he used did contain contraband, so the suspect's lawyer says that he does not have to challenge the inclusion of Face ID on the search warrant prepared for his client.


source: Forbes

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

33 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 3973; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Could have just found someone that looked like him... Well done though officers.

2. apple-rulz

Posts: 1940; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Pat yourself on the back now.

12. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

These are stories to deflect from the fact that anyone can get access to your contacts, and photos from an iPhone with the latest iOS 12 or even 12.1. You don't have to know the users password to get that data. Even Phonearena posted an article about this.

14. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

So they published a story... To distract from another story they published already? M'kay...

3. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Butthurt again. Go troll on your android news. Never there will be news about FBI opening android phones like Samsung garbage because its security is a trash.

5. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

" Go troll on your android news" Pot calling the kettle black

13. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

I know marvzlsFallen has forget that anyone could take an iPhone and get access to your contacts and photos without knowing the users password.

17. Alcyone

Posts: 257; Member since: May 10, 2018

Yeah. I could see people using iOS more for nefarious purposes. Android is a little more involved than iOS. People like simplicity and the fact it "just" works. P.s some of the most secure devices run android. Fyi. Google is your friend.

19. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Now kindly bend over and let them extract all that data to sell onto other companies. You have no idea how Google works kiddo.

4. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

All he'd need to get the Note 9 open is a picture. At least the X is an improvement on that garbage.

23. cmdacos

Posts: 3973; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

And you only need a mask for face id. What's your point muffin?

24. apple-rulz

Posts: 1940; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Bulls**t. Don’t even try to follow up with some lame ass YouTube video either, just go away.

6. NateDiaz

Posts: 1084; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

Oh cmdacos I know you're talking about Samsung's intelligent scan

22. cmdacos

Posts: 3973; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Iris scan is far more secure. Intelligent scan is for convenience. Educate yourself you punchdrunk sack...

26. NateDiaz

Posts: 1084; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

Lol it doesn't work in direct sunlight and doesn't work with glossy specs either. Take a seat.

18. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Really? You must have no idea how phone 'security' works kiddo. Go back to drawing the sky and clouds, there's a good boy.

32. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Actually you don't. Fact FPS is more secure because no one with surgery can have your fingers. Iris Scanner has dual security because your own two eyes are not identical and no one in the world has your eyes. But like someone said here when Face ID first came out, people with very generic facial properties that are generally the same in their culture, Face ID would fail. And it was proven true. And Face ID is slow because it's a two step process to home screen.aq Oh and, Face ID security should actually fail when you where glasses because glasses hide your face and lots of people look very identical when they wear glass.. Face ID works when it shouldn't and fails when it shouldn't.

33. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Ok. I don't even know where to start with all the garbage and fake news you've put in there. Firstly, FaceID doesn't fail because of glasses, people have tried to test it but it still work flawlessly, 'this have been proven' Secondly, FaceID is MORE secure than a FPS and if you're talking about Samsungs Iris Scanner, I'm just going to laugh in your face and relent on how stupid you are!! No mainstream phone has an Iris scanner that more secure than FPS or FaceID. "People with very generic facial properties......" BULL$H*T - Stop making stuff up kid! However I will agree that FaceID is slower and the two step process is rather annoying. But the rest of your comment is going straight on the BS pile. Tissue?

27. whatev

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Are you aware you will never win your crusade against Apple and its users? :)

29. whatev

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Are you aware you will never win your crusade against Apple and its users? :)

7. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

If a the person merdered someone or a big drug dealer I am glad if they can open any phone.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 30902; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Exactly sis.

15. Subie

Posts: 2324; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I agree. With a "legitimate warrant" they should be allowed to access a phone just like any other piece of property. Serious cases have been solved by authorities gaining access to personal computers as well as other property owned by perpetrators. Again, only with a legitimate warrant, or probable cause...

34. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Murdered* - Fixed that for you Also - You're WRONG!

8. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

If apple was smart, they’d measure the hairline as well.

9. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Sure liking Android lock down feature all the more these days, couple quick clicks and pin or pattern only.

20. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

You can lock down iOS too btw

25. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Nice, can it be activated while still locked? That's what makes it handy imo.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 30902; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Stop committing crimes, and the FBI won’t be at your front door. Kinda simple.

16. BuffaloSouce

Posts: 1261; Member since: May 01, 2017

If you're doing something stupid that attracts the attention of any kind of law enforcement, them getting their hands on your device is deserved

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.