The FBI Needs Access to Another iPhone

The FBI Needs Access to Another iPhone

The FBI could be heading for another legal showdown with Apple over gaining access to the iPhone of a dead terror suspect, after admitting it has a device belonging to Dahir Adan, who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall in September.

FBI special agent Rich Thorton told reporters at a press conference late last week that the Feds have the device and that it’s locked with a passcode, but didn’t reveal what model it is.

That will determine what options are open to investigators. If it’s running iOS 8 and above, for example, it will be locked and encrypted so that even Apple can’t help. Brute forcing the code is also unlikely to work because an auto-erase function will wipe all data after 10 incorrect attempts.

“Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” Thornton told reporters, according to Wired. “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”

If the Feds decide to pursue Apple again we could be in for a repeat of the standoff that occurred at the start of the year after investigators tried to force Apple to build a backdoor in order to help them access the phone of deceased San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

At the time, the FBI’s argument was that it would only use the backdoor on that one occasion—something which now appears to be pretty unlikely.

In the end it paid an amount which many believe to be in excess of $1 million for an exploit to access Farook’s device.

Paying a private bug brokerage would again be an option this time around as it’s highly unlikely Apple will change its stance on building backdoors into its products.

The firm has steadfastly refused to do so, warning that it would set a dangerous precedent, could end up in the hands of cybercriminals and would make it very difficult for the firm to refuse similar requests from more oppressive regimes round the world like China.

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Source: Information Security Magazine