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April 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: unlock

FBI Offers to Help Local Law Enforcement Unlock iPhones for Investigations

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling

The FBI is offering to help local law enforcement bypass security features on the iPhone.

“In mid-March, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking the iPhone,” the letter obtained by BuzzFeed News reads. “That method for unlocking that specific iPhone proved successful.”

The letter, in response to questions from local law enforcement about the technique used to open the phone, continued, “We are in this together.”

Numerous law enforcement agencies have reported trouble opening locked iPhones.

Apple has refused to help, saying it would set a dangerous precedent that would compromise the security and privacy of the phones.

The FBI said its method for opening an iPhone is classified.

How the FBI Unlocked an iPhone without the Help of Apple

FBI headquarters

FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling

When Apple refused to help the FBI open an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino killers, the bureau sought help from experts worldwide.

They met with companies and hackers, but no one was able to bypass the security feature.

Then on March 20, a company came forward and demonstrated that they unlocked another iPhone. The FBI decided to give the San Bernardino phone a shot with the company this past weekend, ABC News reports. 

“The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored” on the phone, the Justice Department announced just days ago.

The FBI has declined to identify the company, saying they arrived at a “mutual agreement.”

The solution was “generated as a result of the media attention,” a source told ABC News.

Now forensic examiners are trying to gather evidence from the phone.

3 Theories About How the FBI May Open a Locked iPhone of a San Bernardino Shooter

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling

There are several theories about how the FBI will unlock an iPhone without the help of Apple.

What we know is, the FBI canceled a court hearing on the case Monday after saying an “outside party” may be able to help access the iPhone’s information.

Fortune reports three theories.

Digital forensic researcher Jonathan Zdziarski said the FBI might be using a technique known as NAND mirroring, which would make copies of the phone’s memory chip. That would make it possible for the FBI to try enter the password as many times as it takes to unlock the phone.

“This technique is kind of like cheating at Super Mario Bros. with a save-game, allowing you to play the same level over and over after you keep dying,” Zdziarski writes. “Only instead of playing a game, they’re trying different pin combinations.”

Zdziarski said the FBI may also block the phone’ system that counts failed password attempts.

A third option requires removing the casing on the phones processor chip using lasers or acid, enabling officials to pull the password off the chip with probes.

The FBI said it needs about two weeks to try to open the phone.

Apple Says America’s ‘Founders Would Be Appalled’ by FBI’s Demands to Unlock Phone

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling

Apple took its final legal shot at the FBI before next week’s courtroom showdown over unlocking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple’s legal team warned in court papers of “serious risks” to the privacy of “millions of citizens” if a federal judge orders the tech giant to hack an iPhone, the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

“This case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create,” Apple wrote. “This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching.”

Arguments in the case are scheduled for next week in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who tentatively ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

The Justice Department has argued that unlocking the single phone is necessary to “leave no stone unturned” in the terrorism investigation.

Apple said the order would result in “catastrophic security implications.”

“(According) to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,” Apple wrote. “The Founders would be appalled.”

Federal Government Ramps Up Legal Assault Against Apple Ahead of Court Hearing

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling

The Justice Department and FBI ramped up their legal assault against Apple on Thursday, saying in court papers that the technology grant is using “heated rhetoric” to interfere with a “modest” law enforcement demand to unlock one of the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhones.

Apple responded by calling the legal brief  a “cheap shot” and an “act of desperation,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

The federal government accused Apple of using security features to deliberately impede FBI investigations.

“The tone of their brief reads like an indictment,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel. “I can only conclude the Department of Justice is so desperate at this point it has thrown decorum to the wind.”

A March 22 hearing is scheduled on the issue before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who last month ordered Apple to help authorities hack the cell phone.

Federal prosecutors are asking the judge to leave the order intact.

“The order invades no one’s privacy and raises no Fourth Amendment concerns,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “The government and the community need to know what is on the terrorist’s phone, and the government needs Apple’s assistance to find out.”

FBI Now Says It Didn’t Err When Trying to Reset San Bernardino attacker’s iCloud password

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling

FBI officials are backing off earlier claims made by Director James Comey that “there was a mistake” made by investigators when they tried to gain access to an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

In a court filing on Thursday, FBI officials said the decision to reset the password of an iCloud account tied to Syed Farook, who killed 14 people with the help of his wife in the Dec. 2 shootings, did not make a difference in accessing data from the phone, The Dallas Morning News reports. 

Farouk turned off iCloud backups for his mail, photos and notes, said FBI Agent Chris Pluhar.

The sworn declaration was intended to rebut claims from Apple that the FBI erred when it tried to change the iCloud password. If investigators hadn’t done that, Apple said investigator could have tricked the iPhone from automatically backing up to iCloud.

“In short, Apple is not some distant, disconnected third party unexpectedly and arbitrarily dragooned into helping solve a problem for which it bears no responsibility,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “Rather, Apple is intimately close to the barriers on Farook’s locked iPhone because Apple specifically designed the iPhone to create those barriers.”

Apple took offense at suggestions that the company was trying to impeded the investigation.

“Everybody should beware because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American, nothing could be further from the truth,” Apple senior vice president and general counsel Bruce Sewell said in a conference call with reporters.

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