San Bernardino

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on San Bernardino:

New York district attorney calls for federal law to unlock seized iPhones


iPhone 7 back
Law enforcement officials still want Apple to hack the iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance wants the Trump administration to help create federal legislation requiring Apple and Google to remove default encryption from their smartphones.

The recommendation comes from the DA office’s second report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety, presented by Vance at the opening of the Manhattan DA’s new cyberlab. New York County is currently sitting on 423 iPhones it can’t break into, even with a warrant, so the DA’s office is pushing for change.

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


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.

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.

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.

Attorney general defends iPhone hacking on Stephen Colbert’s show


Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 13.55.46
Loretta Lynch argues her case to Stephen Colbert.
Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

With a growing number of people siding with Apple in its privacy standoff with the U.S. government, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted some damage control last night by appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to defend the FBI’s position.

Check out her appearance below.

FBI will fight for iOS backdoors even if it loses to Apple


iPhone hack
Bruce Schneier thinks the FBI isn't going to stop fighting any time soon.
Photo: Ste Smith

The FBI is unlikely to give up trying to pry its way into iPhones even if it loses the current standoff with Apple over encryption, says security expert Bruce Schneier.

Schneier, who is one of the leading experts on modern cryptography, says it is “clear that the San Bernardino case was preselected as a legal precedent case” by the bureau — despite the fact that FBI Director James Comey has claimed this is not the case (only to later contradict himself.)

Apple files an appeal against creating iPhone backdoor


iPhone hack
Apple is fighting the court's original verdict.
Photo: Ste Smith

Apple filed an appeal late on Tuesday, protesting the government’s order that it create software to help the FBI to hack an iPhone used by one of the terrorists in the mass-shooting of 14 people in San Bernardino.

The appeal was filed just before 11pm PST, and lists formal objections to Judge Sheri Pym’s order — stating that Apple is making the appeal out of what the company calls,”an abundance of caution.”

San Bernardino survivor’s husband supports Apple against FBI


iPhone hack
This case is about much more than one iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The husband of a San Bernardino survivor — whose spouse almost lost her life during the mass shooting which prompted Apple’s hacking standoff with the FBI — has said that he supports Apple’s pro-privacy stance.

Salicin Kondoker’s wife was shot three times during the attack, but in a letter to Judge Sheri Pym, Kondoker writes that Apple’s fight represents, “something much bigger than [hacking] one phone.”

San Bernardino’s top cop admits terrorist’s iPhone may be a dead end


Getting into the San Bernardino iPhone may be pointless.
Photo: Apple

Apple and the FBI are locked in a bitter legal battle over San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c that was recovered at the terrorist event, but according to San Bernardino’s chief of police we’re all overlooking one very important issue: there might not be any useable intelligence on it.

Apple’s biggest rivals come to its legal defense


Tim Cook's tech friends are coming to Apple's defense.
Tim Cook's tech friends are coming to Apple's defense.
Photo: ABC News

The FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into a terrorist’s iPhone has done the seemingly impossible by getting Microsoft, Google and Apple all on the same team.

Many of the country’s top tech firms have revealed that they will file friend-of-the court briefs in defense of Apple’s position that no company should be compelled by the government to break its own security and thus put the public safety of millions of users at risk.

Apple and FBI will duke it out at congressional hearing March 1


The war on encryption ensues next week.
Photo: orangesparrow/Flickr CC

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee announced both FBI director James Comey and Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell are testifying at a congressional hearing on encryption March 1. The saga is far from over, since both will state their cases on the matter of whether the government should have access to users’ iPhone data.

The congressional hearing ultimately revolves around a single question: how can the FBI efficiently do what’s necessary to combat threats without invading users’ privacy and potentially making iOS a more vulnerable operating system? Right now there are two polar opposite positions.

Developer behind world’s most secure messaging app joins Apple


Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Photo: Open Whisper Systems

Apple plans to make future versions of iOS so secure even it can’t hack it, and the company is wasting no time stocking up on talented developers that specialize in encryption.

One of the iPhone-maker’s most recent hires, Frederic Jacobs, was previously a lead developer for Signal, which has earned a name as one of the most secure messaging apps available. It’s so good, it’s become a favorite of former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden who says he uses it everyday.

Mom who lost son in San Bernardino shooting takes Apple’s side


Apple fans are rallying behind the iPhone maker's fight vs the FBI.
Photo: Simone Lovati/Flickr CC

Carol Adams’ son, Robert Adams, was among the 14 people killed by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife on December 2 in San Bernardino, but she doesn’t think the FBI should force Apple to hack the terrorist’s iPhone.

Adams said she stands by Apple’s decision to fight the FBI’s demands to weaken the iPhone’s security in order to access information on Farook’s locked iPhone, explaining that the constitutional right to privacy “is what makes America great to begin with.”

Justice Department thinks Apple’s defying FBI to look cool


iPhone 5c by uveX encryption
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing.
Photo: uveX/Pixabay

The U.S. Department of Justice think’s Apple’s hard public stance on encryption in the San Bernardino shooting case is nothing but a marketing scheme.

The agency said as much in a filing today that implored the court to “[compel] Apple to comply with its order.” It also cites the company’s past cooperation with law-enforcement investigations as evidence that its position has more to do with looking good to its customers than any actual inability to help authorities access the device.

What you need to know about Apple’s privacy battle with FBI


Apple Security Jacket
This case is highlighting a major issue concerning iOS security.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The case involving San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c and whether Apple should help unlock it has brought the company’s stance regarding strong encryption to the forefront.

Since this privacy-versus-security debate isn’t going away anytime soon, here’s what you need to know about it so far — and why it’s a much, much bigger issue than just one legal case.

Tim Cook: Apple will fight to stop the FBI accessing your data


Tim Cook
Tim Cook wants the public to be aware of the importance of this issue.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has posted an open letter, signed by Tim Cook, in response to the FBI’s request that Apple unlock the iPhone at the center of a San Bernardino court case.

While United States magistrated judge Sheri Pym wants Apple to hand the FBI a custom firmware file that would allow the unlocking of the handset in question, Apple argues that this represents an, “unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers.”

And Cook wants the public to be aware of all the details.