FBI unlocks iPhone of terrorist without Apple’s help


The encrypted iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman has been hacked by a third party for the FBI, ending the legal battle between Apple and the US government.

Technology giant Apple had been embroiled in a row for the last month with the FBI, after a court order had been issued demanding that Apple create new software which would allow investigators to access Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone.

On 2 December, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out a terrorist attack at on office party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.

The FBI explained that it needed to access Farook’s iPhone 5C in order to discover if other people were involved in the terrorist attack. They also said that on the day of the shootings, Malik had pledged allegiance on social media to so-called Islamic State.

Apple refused to grant the FBI access, arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent for the future of privacy and encryption.

However, the FBI has now managed to access the iPhone after an outside party managed to unlock the phone. Reports have suggested a cyber security company based in Israel, called Cellebrite, were involved, although this has not been confirmed by either the FBI or Cellebrite.

Despite this appearing to bring an end to the dispute between Apple and the government over this specific phone, it sets up an uncertain future. Apple will be concerned its phone could be hacked, and will look to find a solution, while the FBI will continue to try and compel tech companies to help them fight crime by opening encrypted devices up.