FBI says it may have found method to unlock San Bernardino attacker’s iPhone

“The Justice Department said on Monday that it might no longer need Apple’s assistance to help open an iPhone used by a gunman in last year’s San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting, leading to a postponement of a key hearing over the issue and potentially sidestepping what has become a bitter clash with the world’s most valuable company,” Katie Benner reports for The New York Times.

“The dramatic turn of events came after the Justice Department said in a new court filing that as of Sunday, an outside party had demonstrated a way for the F.B.I. to possibly unlock the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino attackers.,” Melley reports. “‘Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone,’ the Justice Department wrote in the filing. ‘If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple.’ The Justice Department added that it would file a status report by April 5 on its progress on unlocking the iPhone.”

Melley reports, “The law enforcement official declined to name the outside party that approached investigators with a possible method for opening the phone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. government just blinked.

Let freedom ring!!!

Apple hires corporate security chief amid legal battle against U.S. government overreach – March 19, 2016
Countdown to doomsday: Apple, FBI face off in court Tuesday – March 19, 2016
Apple sees weakness in FBI’s last-minute hearing request – March 18, 2016
The FBI has a big ulterior motive in its war against privacy and Apple’s encrypted iPhone – March 18, 2016
The law is clear: The FBI cannot make Apple rewrite iOS – March 18, 2016
Apple engineers, if ordered to unlock iPhone, might resist – March 17, 2016
Apple’s Tim Cook on FBI fight: ‘No one’s going dark’ – March 17, 2016
Harvard Law professor and former Obama special assistant dismisses FBI’s claims – March 17, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016


  1. I’m sure if the fbi’s “outside party” is able to crack iOS 8-9 then the doj will publicize the hell over it to try and mess with Apple’s reputation. Now that could back fire too, leading more criminal types to enhanced encryption apps, something that maybe the nsa can’t crack.

    The government executive branch did not think this through.

  2. This is so funny, “an outside party” will lead to such speculation as to who it was. This certainly has the potential to make the Keystone Cops look good, oh wait, that’s already been done.

  3. This has been a colossal mess from the beginning, courtesy of the FBI.

    The government has accomplished nothing but to speed up the efforts of Apple et. al. to encrypt everything. Apple engineers will not sleep until they have fixed the FBI’s requested hack AND have found and fixed the exploit tendered by the FBI’s new friend. In other words: The FBI shot themselves in the foot.

  4. Fire: Comey and Lynch; chastise Obama. They took oaths to uphold the Constitution.

    But anyway, it is too late. All Silicon Valley has been challenged by this. They have been put on red alert. They will be figuring out serious encryption forevermore.

    Like Steve said: Security is a game of cat-and-mouse. It never ends. The geeks will surely win this one.

      1. It’s only a matter of time before Eric Schmidt wins an appointment to be some sort of digital czar in the cadre of Washington lapdogs. His credentials as a prevaricator, his expertise in doublethink, and his wallet as a corporate lobbyist qualify him. It gets him away from Alphabet/Google, which is a good thing. In his absence, the executives who remain will do a fine job maintaining the utmost professional standards in safeguarding their customers’ personal data, subject to the EULA.

  5. Just another move in the chess game. The FBI got what it wants out of this:
    “According to a report on Monday, U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are circulating a draft bill that would give federal courts liberal authority to compel tech company compliance with government requests for access to encrypted data.”

    We’ll see what the senate does with this. I suppose Apple could comply by giving access to all the encrypted data they want. But decrypting it? Another story. That would undermine CALEA, which specifically prevents the government from imposing constraints on Apple (and others) in the design of their products.

    1. I’m not so sure. FBI thought they had a winning position with their black bishops and rank of pawns, but they miscalculated and got forked by a white knight they had thought powerless. Old-time Soviet grandmasters liked to feint the same way with new young challengers, but they were often surprised by players who stood up to them, and became unsettled by audience approval of the upstarts, all of whom—players and spectators—were observed by the KGB and marked for exclusion from future matches.

  6. “The law enforcement official declined to name the outside party that approached investigators with a possible method for opening the phone”. Hmmm. How many times in real life has some company or someone said “Yeah, I can fix that”, and promptly proceeded to botch the job?

    Once that phone is f***ed, there’s no going back. Lol! 😆

      1. Of course normal people would do that. We’re talking about the FBI here — their idiocy and incompetence with this iPhone 5C (thus far) does not inspire confidence, does it?

  7. This is entirely because the FBI bloody well knew they’d lose this case and lose it quite visibly and quite suddenly. Their bluff was called, and shown for precisely what it was- fascist obliteration of the founders’ basic tenets. As we’ve now seen, and most probably well knew, terrorists use burner phones for all the really necessary steps. I’d be amazed if there were anything but a few selfies on that iPhone they have.

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