FBI may not need Apple's help with that iPhone after all, nevermind, maybe

[Read the post]

Honestly, the FBI’s behavior at this point has gone from ‘slimy’ to ‘genuinely erratic’. Do they mean to imply that they haven’t bothered to do any asking around about how to make iOS 8 sing in the two years it has been out; until the publicity surrounding this case suddenly attracted some helpful well-wishers? Do they suspect that an “Actually, I agree with the New York ruling 100%” result in the California case and are looking for a least-embarrassing climbdown?

If they do have a viable method, how do they justify letting possible intelligence go stale for all this time while they were busy being petulant at Apple?


Simple. When the FBI announced it had broken Apple’s security on the same day as Apple’s launch and security upgrades, the FBI fucked up Apple’s press coverage, product launch, brand, and stock price, and sent a message to every CEO:

“Nice company you have there, Mr. Cook. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”


All I have to say is: John McAfee!


Nah, this is the FBI, their (tech) shit isn’t credible.

Not that there aren’t viable hardware based attacks they could hire someone else to provide, just the FBI ain’t exactly the “A” tech team in the building if you catch my drift.


I’d be genuinely surprised if the FBI did the hack in house(House Hoover are the ones who were screwing up hair-analysis forensics for a couple of decades); but part of what seems so weird about this “Hey, we suddenly found a new way to solve the problem!!!” is exactly the fact that the FBI can hire other people to provide services, and presumably has done so because they don’t exactly have a hacker brain trust on hand.

What are the odds that a new attack just suddenly appeared on Monday, despite the fact that iOS 8 has been a very major slice of the smartphone market for ~2 years, which one would think would be enough to at least cause the FBI to kick out an RFP to whoever they usually go to for exploits. I don’t doubt that there is at least one hack, especially when you are willing to spend nation-state money to twist arms at the hardware level; but a just-suddenly-discovered-so-that-our-previous-claims-that-only-Apple-had-a-way-aren’t-actually-perjury hack? That I find difficult to swallow.


It’s funny, I read the line

In related news, Reuters reported Monday that a group of US senators is circulating draft legislation to give federal judges a clear legal basis on which to issue “backdoor” orders like the one in FBI vs. Apple.

and thought “Any bill that tries to destroy consumer privacy at the drop of a pin sounds like something that Feinstein would be behind.” Lo!


Seems to me like a “Hey guys, the damage we are doing to our own reputation as a crime fighting institution by repeatedly and loudly broadcasting that we can’t access someone’s smartphone is far worse than not having access to the information on this phone. Let’s just say we got in to it, make some shit up that we got off of it, and go back to trying to convince terrorists that they better watch out for the big bad FBI” situation…


An ex-DoJ head was on NPR the other day (I tuned in after they gave his name and just referred to him as ‘a former head of the DoJ who worked within the NSA’) and he just laughed when they asked him about this case. “If the FBI had given the phone to the NSA, they would’ve gotten the info out of it in days. No problem. They absolutely have the tools to handle this. This has nothing to do with this phone – it has no useful info on it; they proved that already with iCloud. It’s about establishing a legal precedent to tap phones whenever they want to.”


What if the FBI is telling the truth? Anonymous just called them up and said, “Hey guys, just short across pins 4-5 and you’re in?” Would the FBI stop asking for a backdoor? Would they announce their new secret to the world?

To quote the Snowden tweet: “Every credible expert knew there were alternative means”.

The phone is a 5C, so the security isn’t quite locked down 100%. You’re close: physical access to the guts of the phone is required, but it’s been discussed in the computer security circles for weeks. I guess that the FBI isn’t on their mailing lists, eh?


Considering that they’ve had people like Loretta Lynch lying about this in public, and Comey lying about this under oath, since day one, I don’t really find it plausible that they suddenly decided to let the truth get in the way. I’m guessing that the public reaction wasn’t what they were hoping for, so they’re just pulling back to retrench and wait for (or engineer) a better case to try this with.


So, even if, this time, the FBI manages to create a kluge to break into this locked iPhone… won’t the first thing that Apple engineers endeavor to do is: find out how the fuck the FBI broke in to the iPhone; rush out an iOS update and/or re-engineer the hardware to make this particular attack impossible.

At some point, this demand from the FBI will be presented to Apple again.

Buying black market exploits and keeping them secret so they can’t be patched decreases global security.

It also makes you worse than garbage water.


There is no security that can withstand having a device in hand if you have enough time and money. This was something beaten into me when I was a CSCI student 25 years ago…

I hope the FBI figures out a way to do this, but it costs a few million per phone to do so and can’t be applied to phones on a regular basis without hundreds of hours of manpower and destroying the device. And I hope Apple keeps pushing the envelope.

1 Like

Don’t we have laws in place making breaking in to a phone a criminal act? If someone is demonstrating this capability are they not demonstrating a crime? I had thought that evidence gathered using criminal means was not admissible.

That’s been my suspicion. It is standard Government practice to wait for an opportune moment to ram through controversial laws and precedents.


from trying to set precedent to pulling the case so no precedent is set against them?

Yeah, once the state brings a case, it should not be so easy to just Ctrl-Z it.


I pity the fools.


I disagree. I think their pet politicians are going to pass some legislation that makes it a specific legal requirement to bypass encryption, thus forcing Apple to litigate against the new legislation if they choose to.

And it was no accident that they chose to announce this on the same day Apple was doing product announcements.

1 Like