FBI found no new information on San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

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google-facebook-and-others-following-apples-lead-on-encryption-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201601iPhone-6s-Live-Photos-jpg
After all that effort, the San Bernardino iPhone turns out not to be what the FBI was hoping for.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The FBI has had three weeks to examine the unlocked iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, and U.S. law enforcement officials are finally ready to say whether they were able to find anything of use on the handset.

The answer? Not much. Although that’s not the way they’re presenting it.

Apple denies giving China its source code

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Bruce Sewell
Apple's top lawyer went back to Congress today.
Photo: House Committee on the Judiciary Hearings

Chinese authorities have demanded Apple give the country complete access to its source code within the last two years, but Apple says it has refused to comply with the government’s demands.

Apple’s top lawyer, Bruce Sewell, defended the company’s position before U.S. lawmakers at a congressional hearing today, after the iPhone-maker was accused by law enforcement officials of refusing to help the U.S. government while at the same time freely giving information to China for business reasons.

U.S. government asked Apple for info on 5,192 users over past six months

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iPhone 6s is a terrific smartphone, but fans are already bored of it.
Apple is being transparent about government requests.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has released its latest report on government information requests, showing how many times it has been asked to hand over data on its users over the six month span running from July to December 2015.

At a time when Apple was increasingly finding itself at odds with the Justice Department over the topic of encryption (something which exploded earlier this year with the San Bernardino shooting case), U.S. law enforcement made requests relating to 5,192 individual Apple accounts.

How Apple makes encryption easy and invisible

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iPhone SE encryption
And we don't just mean turning your iPhone over so that nobody can see the screen.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Do you know how many times a day you unlock your iPhone? Every time you do, you’re participating in Apple’s user-friendly encryption scheme.

Friday, the company hosted a security “deep dive” at which it shared some interesting numbers about its security measures and philosophy as well as user habits. To be honest, we’re less concerned with how Apple’s standards work than the fact that they do and will continue to. But that’s kind of the point behind the whole system — Apple designed its encryption system so that we don’t even have to think about it.

Cellebrite probably wasn’t the brains behind FBI’s iPhone hack

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iPhone hack
Israeli tech firm may not have been the ones who hacked San Bernardino iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The FBI signed a $15,000 contract with Israeli-tech firm Cellebrite to crack the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting investigation. However, according to a new report, Cellebrite may not have been the ones who successfully hacked the smartphone, after all.

Instead, the Feds reportedly broke into the iPhone 5c with the aid of a group of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau a previously unknown iOS flaw — letting them get around the iPhone’s four-digit pincode feature, without accidentally erasing the iPhone’s data in the process.