According to a press statement obtained by Re/code, The U.S. FBI has confirmed that it worked with San Bernardino County government officials to reset the iCloud account password on an iPhone belonging to suspected terrorist Syed Farook.
On Friday, February 19, Apple told reporters that the Apple ID password associated with Farook’s iPhone was changed “less than 24 hours” after being in government hands. Had the password not been altered, Apple believes the backup information the government is asking for could have been accessible to Apple engineers.
The FBI isn’t having any of that, though. According to the report, the agency is still insisting that Apple cooperate with their endeavor to obtain the information on the device, by pretty much any means necessary. That includes building a specific backdoor into iOS, or creating a modified version of iOS and updating the iPhone 5c to access it. Both of these options are something that Apple doesn’t want to do, as the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, has made perfectly clear.
The FBI further stated that “direct data extraction from an iOS device often provides more data than an iCloud backup contains,” and said investigators may be able to extract more evidence from the shooter’s iPhone with Apple’s assistance. Tim Cook and company, however, have thus far refused to cooperate.
Even if the password had not been changed and Apple could have turned on the auto-backup and loaded it to the cloud, there might be information on the phone that would not be accessible without Apple’s assistance as required by the All Writs Act order, since the iCloud backup does not contain everything on an iPhone. As the government’s pleadings state, the government’s objective was, and still is, to extract as much evidence as possible from the phone.
Cook shared an open letter on Wednesday stating that while Apple is “shocked and outraged” by the San Bernardino attacks last December, and presumes “the FBI’s intentions are good,” the company strongly believes that building a “backdoor” for U.S. government officials would be “too dangerous to create.”
The White House later denied that the FBI is asking Apple to “create a new backdoor to its products,” but rather seeking access to a single iPhone. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice called Apple’s opposition a “marketing strategy” in a motion filed to compel Apple to comply with the original court order.
The ordeal has grown to maximum capacity at this point. Other organizations and tech industry leaders have come forward to support Apple, including Google, Facebook, and many others. However, others are in contention, like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who, very recently, called for a boycott of Apple until the company accessed the iPhone 5c in question.
FBI Insists Apple To Cooperate To Hack Into The Shooter’s iPhone