FBI wants to get into locked Apple iPhone of Minnesota Islamic terrorist Dahir Adan

“When the FBI asked a court to force Apple to help crack the encrypted iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook in February, Bureau director James Comey assured the public that his agency’s intrusive demand was about one terrorist’s phone, not repeated access to iPhone owners’ secrets. But now eight months have passed, and the FBI has in its hands another locked iPhone that once belonged to another dead terrorist,” Andy Greenberg reports for Wired. “Which means they may have laid the groundwork for another legal showdown with Apple.”

“At a press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota today, FBI special agent Rich Thorton said that the FBI has obtained the iPhone of Dahir Adan, who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall before a police officer shot and killed him. (The fundamentalist militant organization ISIS claimed credit for the attack via social media.) As in Farook’s case, the attacker’s phone is locked with a passcode. And Thorton said the FBI is still trying to figure out how to gain access to the phone’s contents,” Greenberg reports. “‘Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,’ Thornton told reporters, ‘We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.'”

“Thornton didn’t say in the press conference what model iPhone Adan owned or what operating system the device ran,” Greenberg reports. “The FBI didn’t respond to Wired’s email or phone calls about the second locked iPhone, and Apple declined to comment as to whether the FBI had asked for its assistance in accessing the device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Great. Here comes Round 2.

Again, encryption is binary; it’s either on or off.

You cannot have both. You either have privacy via full encryption or you don’t by forcing back doors upon Apple. It’s all or nothing.

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

Without strong encryption (meaning no back doors), U.S. companies’ tech products would be eschewed around the world.

Apple CEO Tim Cook touts encryption at Senator Orrin Hatch’s Utah Tech Tour – October 3, 2016
Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
FBI’s Comey says agency paid more than $1 million to access San Bernadino iPhone – April 21, 2016
Nothing significant found on San Bernardino’s terrorist’s iPhone – April 14, 2016
FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave – April 7, 2016
Apple responds to FBI: ‘This case should have never been brought’ – March 29, 2016


    1. While it is true that encryption is not binary, the logical “law of the excluded middle” requires that any given encryption scheme be either adequately secure or not secure for practical purposes. There is probably no such thing as uncrackable encryption, given unlimited computational resources and unlimited time.

      There is, however, a point (which is constantly evolving) at which the encryption is good enough to defeat any attack that is reasonably likely. It is simply too expensive to devote a supercomputer and its programming staff to every file that a criminal and/or government might like to see. Unless you are a head of state or a unique threat to national security, you aren’t worth the effort.

      It appears that Apple’s iPhone encryption is strong enough to prevent routine hacking by the FBI (and therefore presumably other state actors and private criminals). That is good enough, even if the NSA could crack it with their server farm at Ft. Meade in Maryland that draws down more electricity than the entire city of Annapolis.

  1. I’m just guessing here, but I would bet those politicians who want backdoors on our iPhones would be the first to demand no backdoors on their phones (something similar to their demand for no guns for anyone but their bodyguards).

    1. This is ditto for all US policy, from taxes to surveillance – you name it.

      Hippcracy at its finest. I suggest that we call them out on it. Every law passed must be applicable to everyone who passes the law.

    1. They actually do. I had a friend who died and his widow needed to open his phone to get contact info for the funeral and I got the phone open with his dead fingers
      Of course I could not guess the passcode to permanently open it

  2. Oh look, the FBI wised up about airing their technological illiteracy in public: No details about WHAT iPhone is involved or what ‘locked’ means in terms of protections activated on the phone. Oh and no disingenuous Director James Comey in sight.

    Will the FBI again attempt to subvert the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Maybe they learned that lesson as well. Let’s watch…

      1. Stroking my ego: I was the first to describe him as ‘disingenuous’ and I watched the word spread through the media. So I’m staying consistent. It’s as kind a word as I could muster, considering the conniving on his part, as I described. I note that he is out of the picture in this new case, a wise choice.

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