FBI plans to keep Apple iPhone 5c-hacking method secret

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t plan to tell Apple Inc. how it cracked a San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist’s phone, said people familiar with the matter, leaving the company in the dark on a security vulnerability on some iPhone models,” Devlin Barrett reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The FBI knows how to use the phone-hacking tool it bought to open the iPhone 5c but doesn’t specifically knows how it works, allowing the tool to avoid a White House review, the people said,” Barrett reports. “The FBI plans to notify the White House of this conclusion in the coming days, they added.”

“Christopher Soghoian, chief technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the planned move by the FBI to avoid notifying Apple shows that the government process for reviewing software vulnerabilities “’is riddled with loopholes,'” Barrett reports. “‘If the government can circumvent the process merely by buying vulnerabilities, then the process becomes a farce,’ Mr. Soghoian said. ‘The FBI is not interested in cybersecurity.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple no longer makes iPhones without Secure Enclaves, so, regardless of the FBI’s myopic stupidity, the vast majority of iPhone users are unaffected by the hack purchased with U.S. taxpayers’ hard-earned money by the feckless FBI.

FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave – April 7, 2016
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


  1. It’s a good idea on the part of FIB to keep this information secret for several reasons:

    – While “The FBI knows how to use the phone-hacking tool it bought to open the iPhone 5c but doesn’t specifically knows how it work”. That would have cost and extra 99 cents from those who supplied FIB with the phone-hacking tool and FIB doesn’t want to be seen as wasting taxpayers money.

    – The phone-hacking tool also guarantees that no dormant cyber pathogens© will be released.

    – Since FIB doesn’t know specifically how the phone-hacking tool works it can avoid a White House review thus circumventing the law using one of their well understood ABOVE THE LAW™ techniques.

    – When the Chinese or Russians, or little old ladies in Austria get their hands the specifics of the phone hacking tool, FIB can blame those who sold it to them in their well understood PASS THE BUCK™ process.

    – FIB can used the tool unimpeded on all relevant iPhones, at least until the next Snowden reveals how much they’ve used it.

    – FIB can look at relevant iphones without the need for a warrant in bathroom stalls, with constitutional toilet paper rolls.

    Besides as that Christopher Soghoian has pointed out “If the government can circumvent the process merely by buying vulnerabilities, then the process becomes a farce,’ followed up by “The FBI is not interested in cybersecurity.’’ These observations are just a smaller slice of the pie. I mean this is a nation that has circumvented the Geneva Convention by merely labeling people as enemy combatants and the Guantanamo on the Bay Resort™ clearly illustrates that the nation is certainly no longer interested in being part of the free and civilized world.

    1. Don’t be coy, Road Warrior. Let’s see your explicit list of free and civilised countries. We already know the United States won’t be on that list because of its war crimes. Its own citizens are well acquainted with its duplicity and are dealing with it on their own terms, not requiring constant reminders from outsiders to do so. I’m not one to give advice but I will give you some, from a Navajo friend: the drumbeat of shame always comes from afar.

      1. Hello Herself, and what a delightful day that has you in it.

        I’m going to do some preemptive preface defense on my answer to your request as it often results in a personal attack and/or an attack on the countries on the list, the references used, the methodology used and so on. I’m not saying that you are going to this, but someone might jump in with this approach. As this is a public forum please put in perspective that the answer I am giving to you here now is being delivered in a different format than say, if it were given after a formal dinner and you were again readjusting my tie. If that were the case I’d be more inclined to softly whisper the list to you while adding a more tactile approach to my answer, say that of an ice cube gliding along bare skin as I whisper “Iceland”.

        My preface for you this beautiful day includes contextual playing with the definitions of freedom, civilize and world.

        1. World: The third planet from the sun, Earth is a free and civilized world, Mars is not at least not that I know of. You are asking for a national parameter from a planetary observation, that’s tough to do hence the preface.

        2. Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

        I’m glad this is an “or” definition because removing the ability to act or speak is pretty easy to do. I’m not free to go walking on the surface of Mars for example, but I can think about it. Limiting a person’s ability to act or speak is not that difficult. Removing a person’s ability to think straight through torture, well that’s removing one of the most personal freedoms from someone else and that’s pretty atrocious in my books. Fortunately there is one right that is inalienable and that right to die. It can be delayed or precipitated but no one, absolutely no one can remove anyone’s right to die. It is a true freedom and at the same time, the ultimate restraint. A little paradox to illustrate that freedom is and is not mutually exclusive.

        3. To Civilize: bring (a place or people) to a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced. I’ll note that this is very close to the concept of evolve, a concept I am going to introduce here as well.

        To evolve: develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

        I connect these two concepts to connect the global and national parameters. You see, to me, anything that brings a place or people to more advanced stage is part of, or at least connected to the process of civilizing. That means that the plants all around you, are part and parcel of the civilized world. They provide the oxygen, they’ve guided climate change for a quite while, they’ve modified the atmosphere, and without them the civilization we all enjoy would simply not exist. All those algal rich oceans of those international waters are part and parcel of the free and civilized world. And when it comes to freedom, which includes concepts of acts, speech and thought then you have to consider dolphins and whales, they certainly are part of the free and civilized world from my perspective.

        I add the evolve concept because there is a bidirectional feature to it, also known as devolution, a reversion to a simpler more primitive form. A classic example is a species of cave fish believed to have lost the ability to see over many generations because it simply does not need it anymore as it lives in a cave. That’s an important perspective because it gives context as to where one is coming from and where one is going.

        Torture, for example, can be viewed as an evolved step, if one considers using it as a form of information extraction as opposed to using it simply for bullying, revenge or schadenfreude purposes. For those who realize that it’s a terrible way of extracting information, it can also be an indication of devolution from a once advanced freedom loving society now seduced by the allure of fear and hate. Essentially that’s the crux of the matter, your nation has shifted direction and is devolving.

        That’s my prelude, I’ll be including the list in a separate post and yes you should consider yourself spoiled so far.

        1. I’m having trouble with the second post so in a nutshell: The list I am providing you as a response to your request is the “Global Peace Index” with the understanding that peace is a complex situation indicative of advanced civilized behavior at least for humans. This list can be found on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

        2. Brr, I feel the chill on my arm. Iceland for me is redolent of Björk, of Jules Verne, of Chess, of splendid isolation from the oblivion of the mainlanders. — Iceland. Let that be our code word when we quarrel, a signal to lighten up. 😀

          I imagine you have found many uses for your particular charm and strangeness in what has to be a fascinating life. Captivating the ladies is only one of them, I’m sure.

  2. It is not Apple’s job to provide an iPhone hack to the FBI.
    It is not the FBI’s job to provide show Apple the iPhone hack they purchased unless it get’s into hackers hands, then the FBI is morally obligated to protect the public.
    Apple can always pay the same people the FBI did if they really want the hack.

  3. “The FBI knows how to use the phone-hacking tool it bought to open the iPhone 5c but doesn’t specifically knows how it works”

    is that true?

    a tool designed by hackers… , so what if that tool was ALSO a piece of spyware that can replicate and infect FBI computers …. Allowing a trojan horse — that’s your dormant cyber pathogen — into their system will be hacker PRIME HACK of the year.

  4. If the FBI don’t know how it works, then any data extracted is likely to be disputed in court as there can be no way of verifying it’s authenticity.

    Without a proper forensically sound trail back to the source, all they can extract is data rather than evidence that will stand up to scrutiny.

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