US slams Huawei with racketeering charges

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Huawei
Huawei has been relentless in its pursuit to become the world's biggest tech company.
Photo: AndroidCentral

Apple’s biggest competition from China just got hit with the R.I.C.O.

The FBI and US Department of Justice revealed this afternoon 16 charges filed against Huawei, one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers. Prosecutors claim Huawei conspired to steal trade secrets, commit wire fraud and conspired to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

We’re still digging into the 56-page indictment, but it looks like Huawei was on a two-decade-long streak of keepin it gangsta.

FBI director says Feds still can’t unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants Apple to help it unlock handset.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

FBI director Christopher Wray says that the Feds are still unable to access the encrypted data on an iPhone belonging to the shooter responsible for killing three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base in late 2019.

The FBI says that it has reconstructed the phone after it was damaged. But it still can’t access the information on the handset itself.

Why everyone’s upset about AirPods Pro, and Tim Cook’s favorite shower tech, this week on The CultCast

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CulCast 424
Finally, you too can shower like Tim Cook. We'll tell you how.
Photo: YSR50

This week on The CultCast: It’s not your imagination — Apple changed AirPods Pro and made them worse! We’ll tell you what’s going on. Plus: A new report says Apple caved to FBI pressure to keep your iCloud backups less safe. And stay tuned to hear about about Tim Cook’s favorite new … shower tech? Rub-a-dub-dub, my friends.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast, and use offer code CultCast at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.

iPhone 11 held off FBI hacking efforts for two months

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The FBI finally hacked an iPhone 11
Even a federal law-enforcement agency took months to bypass iPhone security.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It reportedly took the FBI two months to bypass the security built in an iPhone 11. This demonstrates how difficult iPhone hacking is for even one of the world’s premier law-enforcement agencies.

2018 interview with Tim Cook suggests Apple was working on iCloud backup encryption

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2018 interview with Tim Cook suggests Apple was working on iCloud backup encryption
Apple is embroiled in a new privacy-centered controversy.
Photo: Apple

Yesterday, news broke about how Apple allegedly scrapped plans to let users fully encrypt backups of their devices using iCloud. This was supposedly because the FBI complained that encryption would make future investigations more difficult.

Apple did not comment on Reuters’ story. But a previous interview with CEO Tim Cook, published by German-language newspaper Der Spiegel, suggests this is something Apple may, in fact, have been working on.

Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern

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Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
Apple planned new feature two years ago.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple ditched plans to let users fully encrypt backups of their devices using iCloud, a new report by Reuters claims. Apple reportedly made the decision after the FBI complained that this would make it harder to carry out future investigations.

The report mentions no names. But the news outlet reportedly spoke with “six sources familiar with the matter.”

Apple denies AG Barr’s calls of no help to unlock Pensacola killer’s iPhones

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Tim Cook & Apple stand behind its stance that iPhone encryption is "vital to protecting our country and our users' data."

Apple denied late Monday that it has not cooperated with U.S. federal authorities to help unlock a pair of iPhone’s believed to have belonged to a Saudi aviation student that killed three people at a Florida Navy base in December, saying it always works with law enforcement in their investigations and directly contradicting claims by the U.S. Attorney General that it had not given “substantive assistance.”

US Attorney General demands Apple unlock Pensacola shooter’s iPhones

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slide to unlock lock screen
Apple is embroiled in another unlocking controversy.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple could be headed for another collision course with U.S. federal law enforcement, similar to the spat it had with the FBI over creating backdoors into iOS.

Attorney General William Barr has asked Apple to provide access to two phones used by the gunman at the Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting last month. Barr said this morning that Apple has provided no “substantive assistance” so far and indicated that he’s ready for a fight regarding the issue.

FBI wants Apple’s help to unlock iPhones used by suspected Pensacola shooter

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants Apple's help.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

The FBI wants Apple to help unlock two iPhones owned by a man suspected of carrying out a fatal shooting attack. The shooting took place last month at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

In a letter sent Monday, the FBI said it had been granted permission to search the phones belonging to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. However, it has been unable to access them since they are password-protected.

New York City uses Israeli tools to crack into locked iPhones

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GrayKey can bypass iPhone security
iPhone security is no match for Cellebrite.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Law enforcement agents in New York City have been cracking into locked iPhones since January 2018, according to a new report.

Agencies are using a tool called Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) that’s developed by Israeli firm Cellebrite. It is said to have cost at least $200,000 and allows a full file system extraction.