On Monday, the FBI said it found a way to unlock the iPhone shooter who killed three young U.S. Navy students and injured eight in December 2019 at Pensacola Naval Base in Florida.
No, thanks, Apple. Attorney General William P. Barr told the news:
Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI – and not Apple – we were able to unlock Alshamrani phones.
Barr has publicly asked several times to lock the back doors.
On Monday, AG met FBI Director Christopher Ray at a virtual press conference. Barr took the opportunity to again call for a legal solution to Apple’s encryption problem, while Ray raised the issue of Apple’s FBI.
They both tapped FBI employees on the shoulder during the months they unlocked a damaged iPhone.
In January, after the shooting, the agency asked Apple to help unlock two iPhones of the murderer Muhammad Said Alshamrani. Also in January the Ministry of Justice announced that the investigation had revealed that the incident was a jihadist-inspired terrorist act. On the second. February Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (APCP) admitted to being involved in the shooting.
The FBI received a subpoena to search for content on the iPhone, both of which are password-protected and one of which was pierced by a bullet hole in Alshamrani, further complicating forensic analysis of the device and its data.
An FBI press release at Monday’s conference included a photo of a hole in an iPhone and a warning for an iPhone marked only by an authorized service provider.
Pictures of the arrow of the iPhone Pensacola. IMAGE : FBI
Ray said FBI agents had spent months trying to hack the iPhone – hours, days and weeks of hard work that would otherwise have been spent protecting Americans from terrorists if it hadn’t been for what he called an Apple problem in law enforcement.
He praised the hard work of the FBI staff…
I would like to thank and congratulate the men and women of the FBI for working hard for months to get access to these devices. They managed to master a problem that required perseverance, creativity and technical expertise.
…and then he fell in love with Apple because he didn’t make it any easier:
The technology we’ve developed isn’t the solution to Apple’s bigger problem.
Apple’s bigger problem is end-to-end antivirus encryption applications: Applications that Alshamrani and its AQAP partners have consciously used to bypass law enforcement by reporting their plans.
Ray gave no details about the technique used to hack Alshamrani’s iPhone. He said the FBI tried every tool and technique to bypass the encryption, but none of them worked:
We interviewed all partners and companies that might have a solution to access these phones. Nobody did, despite what some in the media have claimed. So we did it ourselves.
When it asked Apple for help in January, the FBI said it used the same tactic when it tried to unlock San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s iPhone. In particular, he enlisted the help of other federal agencies – he sent the iPhone to the FBI forensic lab in Quantico, Virginia – as well as experts from other countries and well-known contacts in the Third World.
The latter was seen as a possible clue to a tool used by the FBI to finally crack an encrypted Farook phone, calling into question the legitimacy of the FBI and Apple’s fight for encryption.
Apple: Rear doors reduce safety for all
Throughout the battle for encryption in San Bernardino and up to the current battle for blocked phones in Alshamrani, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a firm stance and publicly announced that the company refuses to crack its own encryption. Apple strongly believes that releasing encryption to give law enforcement a loophole will weaken everyone’s security and give bad actors access to data about innocent people.
We were equally uncompromising in this way of thinking: Having said this, and in agreement with the IT Industry Council that there is simply no point in weakening security in order to improve security, we can only agree with that view.
In response to the FBI’s request for help in January, Apple said it would help the government in any way without interfering with its own security technology:
We have great respect for law enforcement and always cooperate with them in their investigations. When the FBI asked us about this case a month ago, we gave them all the data we had and we will keep it with the data we have.
On Monday, Apple’s reaction to Ray’s anger corresponded with everything that had already been said about it. Apple’s statement:
Misrepresentations of business against our society are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security. Precisely because we take our responsibility for national security so seriously, we do not believe in creating a back door that would make any device vulnerable to malicious actors that threaten our national security and the security of our customers’ data.
There is no back door reserved for the good guys and the American people do not have to choose between weakening the encryption and an effective investigation.
Apple accused of delaying the investigation
The Ministry of Justice managed to hack the iPhone. Then why complain about the apple? This time he accuses the encryption company of causing a delay in the corresponding national security investigation. The company’s refusal to release the encryption meant its agents didn’t know what to ask or what to look for, Ray said. So they wasted time following everything and everyone, which was impossible because they had set the most beautiful tracks to zero:
After the attack, we immediately started collecting and analysing evidence, together with our partners in the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Within a few weeks, immediately after the 6th month of pregnancy. In December, we conducted over 500 interviews with witnesses, basic personnel, friends, classmates and the shooter’s staff – among many other activities. Because the essential evidence on the killer’s phones was hidden from us, we did everything we investigated without knowing what we were doing: valuable information to ask what to look for. If we did that, our 24 hours, everyone on deck, the effort would be much more productive.