Apple denies giving China its source code


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.

Apple claims FBI hasn’t exhausted all options to hack Brooklyn iPhone


iPhone SE 14
Apple's hacking battle with FBI rages on.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is pushing back against the federal government’s demands to unlock another iPhone, this time related to a drug case in Brooklyn.

In a new filing posted on Friday, the iPhone-maker has asked a New York judge to dismiss the federal government’s appeal against Apple, claiming the DoJ has not proved that it has exhausted all resources to unlock the iPhone in question.

Feds can’t tell Apple how they cracked San Bernardino iPhone


iPhone 6s
The FBI may not legally own the process used to crack the iPhone 5c under investigation.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We’ve heard plenty of bluster about how the FBI won’t tell Apple how it cracked the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case, but there’s another possibility, too: that the Feds can’t tell Apple how it did it.

Why? Because according to a new report, citing Obama administration sources, it may not actually have legal ownership of the method in question.

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


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.

iPhone 5c hackers think they’re close to cracking iPhone 6


iPhone hack
The iPhone 6 is much tougher to hack than the iPhone 5c.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Israeli tech firm Cellebrite, a.k.a. the mobile forensics firm which helped the FBI hack the iPhone 5c at the center of the San Bernardino shooting case, is reportedly “optimistic” about hacking the more secure iPhone 6.

The story in this instance involves an Italian father, Leonardo Fabbretti, wanting to access the iPhone photos, notes and messages belonging to his adopted son Dama, who passed away from bone cancer last September at the age of 13.

FBI: It’s ‘too early’ to tell if gunman’s iPhone contains useful evidence


iPhone hack
Was hacking the San Bernardino iPhone worth it?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The FBI’s campaign against Apple has been called its biggest PR disaster in history, but were its efforts to hack the San Bernardino iPhone worth it? In the FBI’s own words, it’s still too soon to tell.

According to a senior FBI official, the organization won’t reveal what — if anything — it’s learned until it’s finished examining all the data on the handset.

Justice Department may be forced to disclose iPhone hacking secrets


iPhone 6 Plus_8
Your move, Justice Department!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Department of Justice briefly gained the upper hand over Apple this week when it made it clear that it was in no rush to reveal how it hacked the iPhone at the center of the San Bernardino shooting case — thereby stopping Apple from plugging that particular vulnerability.

However, it seems that Apple’s back in the driving seat after a new report reveals that the Justice Department may be compelled to reveal its hacking methods if it wants to continue with a case asking a New York court to force Apple to unlock a different iPhone handset.

Apple’s privacy policy could earn it massive fines in France


That's a lot of euros!
Photo: Godzimama

Although most of the attention on Apple’s privacy standoff with the government has so far focused on the United States, the U.S. isn’t the only place where Apple’s fighting with the authorities over iPhone encryption.

In France, politician Yann Galut, a member of the country’s Socialist Party, has submitted an amendment to a bill designed to strengthen the French government’s fight against terror — by arguing that Apple should pay €1 million per smartphone if it does not “promptly” agree to unlock devices when asked to by law enforcement.

John McAfee offers to hack shooter’s iPhone for FBI


John McAfee at DefCon 2014.
John McAfee at DefCon 2014.
Photo: NullSession/Flickr CC

Cybersecurity legend John McAfee has sided with Apple in the company’s fight against the FBI over creating a backdoor to access the San Bernardino shooter’s locked iPhone 5c.

But just because McAfee thinks Apple shouldn’t unlock the smartphone doesn’t mean he thinks he shouldn’t do it.

In an open letter regarding Tim Cook’s decision to deny the FBI request, McAfee has offered up the services of his team of superhero hackers to unlock the iPhone — and he says it will only take them three weeks.

How Apple could hack terrorist’s iPhone for FBI (if it wanted to)


This tool can unlock any iPhone's PIN.
Open up! The FBI wants in.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A federal judge has ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s demands to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c. Apple CEO Tim Cook has boldly and politely refused. However, his reason has nothing to do with whether Apple has the ability to hack the iPhone.

It simply doesn’t want to.

Apple has spent the past few years making its devices more secure by adding Touch ID and a secure element. The iPhone 5c doesn’t have Touch ID, though, so the FBI wants to brute-force unlock it by guessing the terrorist’s PIN. The problem is, iOS will automatically wipe the device after too many unsuccessful attempts — and iOS also delays how often you can guess a passcode. So the FBI created a plan for how Apple can help the bureau get around it.