FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave

“FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the government had purchased ‘a tool’ from a private party in order to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters,” Lorenzo Ferrigno and Charles Riley report for CNN. “‘Litigation between the government and Apple over the San Bernardino phone has ended, because the government has purchased, from a private party, a way to get into that phone, 5C, running iOS 9,'” Comey said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Litigation forced without notice by you, Comey, has ended because you got spanked in public by those who understand the egregious implications of your overreach — on the backs of terrorism victims, no less — so, you blinked, you liar.

“Comey revealed additional information about the source of the tool Wednesday. ‘The people we bought this from, I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it, and their motivations align with ours,’ he said,” Ferrigno and Riley report. “The FBI director also said the purchased tool worked only on a ‘narrow slice of phones’ that does not include the newest Apple models, or the 5S.”

“Comey said the government was currently considering whether to tell Apple how it pulled off the hack,” Ferrigno and Riley report. “‘We tell Apple, then they’re going to fix it, then we’re back where we started from,’ he said. ‘We may end up there, we just haven’t decided yet.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple already knows, you moron. They fixed the issue in 2013 when they began equipping devices with the Secure Enclave, starting with the iPhone 5s and iPad Mini 2.

The duplicitous FBI should disclose the super duper top secret third party (Cellebrite) and their double-secret method (NAND-mirroring), so that Apple can confirm that it doesn’t work with post-iPhone 5c iPhones (iPhone 5s and later) with Secure Enclaves.MacDailyNews, April 7, 2016

Even without mentioning Cellebrite or NAND-mirroring, it’s now quite obvious that Apple’s Secure Enclave is the difference maker.

Apple devices with the Secure Enclave include any device with the Apple A7 chip or later:

• iPhone 5S
• iPhone 6
• iPhone 6 Plus
• iPhone 6s
• iPhone 6s Plus
• iPhone SE

• iPod touch (6th generation)

• iPad Air
• iPad Air 2
• iPad mini 2
• iPad mini 3
• iPad mini 4
• 9.7-inch iPad Pro
• 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple shoots for the impossible: An unbreakable iPhone – April 1, 2016
Inside the little-known Japanese firm helping the FBI crack Apple iPhones – April 1, 2016
Here’s how much the FBI is paying Cellebrite for its iPhone hack – March 25, 2016
Meet Cellebrite, the Israeli company reportedly cracking iPhones for the FBI – March 24, 2016
U.S. Senator Wyden pledges to fight limits on encryption – March 31, 2016
Apple’s new challenge: Learning how the U.S. cracked terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Did the FBI just unleash a hacker army on Apple? – March 29, 2016
Apple declares victory in battle with FBI, but the war continues – March 29, 2016
Apple vows to increase security as FBI claims to break into terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
U.S. government drops Apple case after claiming hack of terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Meet Cellebrite, the Israeli company reportedly cracking iPhones for the FBI – March 24, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. “I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it”

    If they developed it then someone else can, someone with nefarious intentions. If they can hack an Apple device then someone can hack them. He is essentially going on trust, trust that the public are now unable to show for the FBI.

    1. No only that, but to hack an iPhone you need physical access to the hardware, whereas you can hack Android through an app without physically handling the phone.

  2. We all knew this was the case months ago. And apple knew this in 2012 or they never would’ve built the secure enclave in the first place. So they clearly thought ahead and protected themselves. But since the heavy software encryption was introduced in iOS 8, the older devices had a similar level of protection, except for this one extremely expensive work around that is very similar to how the first iPhone was jail broken.

    I agree with mdn in that Apple should come out and say “every device with an secure enclave is not suceptible to this method and is secure”

  3. “…people we bought this from…”

    So, the FBI’s ‘in house’ team had nothing to do with hacking the phone. They used taxpayer funds to acquire a ‘solution’ from a third party. Because?

    “…their motivations align with ours…”

    Until they don’t. What, exactly, are the FBI/Comey’s motivations?

    “…‘narrow slice of phones’…”

    Well, that’s convenient. Just so happens that Farook used the very same phone that they could obtain a ‘tool’ for.

    Seems like Comey isn’t the only tool involved here.

    Let the games begin.

  4. What an interesting game by FIB:

    FIB Part one: “Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law. That’s what this is. The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI.”

    Comment part one in retrospect: Yes you owed them a thorough and professional investigation. You made it a farce. The FIB nation may expect nothing less but fortunately the free and civilized world can expect a lot less from the FIB nation and has quite some time.

    FIB Part two: “Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”

    Comment Part two: You followed the lead and got the clue. You can look the survivors in the eye now, heck you can look at yourselves in the mirror. All sorts of people even those without ethics can look themselves in the mirror.

    FIB Part three:

    “Referring to claims by the FBI that it had “exhausted all other practical options” to get into the iPhone 5c at the heart of the dispute, the WSJ said: “Now we learn the FBI, far from exhausting all other practical options, had been pursuing such non-Apple leads all along.””

    “Comey revealed additional information about the source of the tool Wednesday. “The people we bought this from, I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it, and their motivations align with ours,” he said.”

    FIB Comment Part three: FIB’s contribution is part of what makes that nation what it is today. I think that the commie Comey is well worthy of a wall plaque of honor in the lobby of the Guantanamo on the Bay Resort.

  5. Of course this means that the FBI will now be looking for the prefect case involving a modern iPhone so that they can restart this charade through the courts all over again. Both sides have very thoroughly rehearsed their arguments and counter arguments.

    One big problem for the FBI is that with Farook’s iPhone they insisted that only Apple could possibly solve their problem, when in reality a foreign company was able to sell them a device to solve precisely that problem. They are going to have a much more difficult challenge insisting the same thing next time round now that their previous claims proved to be completely untrue.

  6. Any official employee or representative of the USA (and State) government or agencies should be immediately fired for “behavior unbecoming of their office” if they are found to be dishonest.

    Fire Comey and his

    Democracy is difficult enough without complicating matters with malicious mis-truths by those in whom the people have placed their trust to do their will. So help them God — right? Then: thou shalt not lie!

    Power to the people !

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