The FBI needs help unlocking another terrorist’s iPhone

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iPhone 7 Home button
iPhone's security has the FBI stumped.
Photo: Ste Smith

The FBI and Apple could be on a collision course for another legal showdown over a dead terrorist’s locked iPhone.

Apple refused to comply with the FBI’s demands to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone eight months ago. That led to a very public legal battle over privacy and security. Now the FBI needs help again after obtaining the iPhone of a terrorist that stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall.

FBI paid a ton of money to unlock San Bernardino iPhone

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The next iPhone will have a huge battery.
The next iPhone will have a huge battery.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Getting into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c was no cheap feat for the FBI.

The Department of Justice withdrew its demands that Apple unlock the terrorist’s iPhone after the FBI was approached by a third-party that had a method to hack the device. It turns out Cellebrite charged the FBI through the nose to access the information it wanted, but FBI director James Comey says it was totally worth it.

FBI reveals unlocking tool doesn’t work on iPhone 5s and higher

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iPhone will never be 100 percent hacker-proof.
iPhone will never be 100 percent hacker-proof.
Photo: Sam Mills/Cult of Mac

The iPhone unlocking tool used by the FBI to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c can only be used on “a narrow slice of phones” the agency admitted.

FBI director James Comey revealed that litigation between Apple and the federal government has ended, but the tool the agency purchased to unlock the device does not work on the iPhone 5s or newer iPhones, including the iPhone SE.