| Cult of Mac

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


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


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


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


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.

Larry Ellison doesn’t agree with how Apple handled its FBI standoff


Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison was one of Steve Jobs' best friends.
Photo: Oracle Corporate Communications

Oracle founder Larry Ellison may have been Steve Jobs’ BFF and even considered buying Apple at one point, but he doesn’t agree with everything the company does. In a recent interview, Ellison criticized Apple’s refusal to help hack an iPhone belonging to a shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack.

The case blew up into a massive standoff between Apple, in favor of privacy, and the FBI. Speaking on Fox, Ellison called Apple’s behavior, “bizarre.”

James Comey isn’t a fan of iPhone encryption


James Comey
In his new book, James Comey says that law enforcement should have a backdoor into locked iPhones.
Photo: FBI

James Comey is an controversial figure. His new book shows he’s strongly opposed to Donald Trump, but he may have also helped get Trump elected President. And the former FBI director is opposed to the encryption that protects the privacy of iPhone users.

Comey’ s book, A Higher Loyalty, says Apple’s decision to encrypt the contents of iOS devices by default “drove me crazy.”

Congress criticizes FBI quest for iPhone ‘backdoor’


FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
The FBI took some Congressional-strength flack today for wanting an iPhone backdoor for law enforcement.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

Congress has called the FBI on the carpet for its attempt to require Apple to build a backdoor into the iPhone. A letter went out today from a bi-partisan group of representatives  accusing the law enforcement agency of over-stating difficulties in unlocked iPhones involved in crimes.

The ten congresspeople wrote that the FBI deliberately didn’t explore all the options to unlock the iPhone belonging to a mass shooter because they wanted an excuse to force Apple to modify iOS so it’s easy for law enforcement to access.

Silicon Valley FBI boss says the bureau loves Apple


FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
Apple and the FBI are on the same team sometimes.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr (CC)

Apple’s relationship with the FBI isn’t nearly as contentious as some government officials and critics would have you believe.

That’s according to the FBI’s San Francisco chief, John Bennett, who says his office and Apple actually enjoy a great relationship. In fact, Apple actually trains FBI agents on how to do their jobs better.

Apple helping FBI with locked smartphone of Texas shooter


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

Apple says it “immediately” reached out to the FBI to help the agency unlock the encrypted smartphone of the shooter in the Texas church massacre.

The FBI declined to name the type of phone used by suspected shooter, Devin Kelley, but ABC News reported earlier today that the device is indeed an Apple handset.