According to a report published recently by The Wall Street Journal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation will keep the method that it used to hack into the iPhone 5C used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook a secret.
Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, the FBI will reportedly tell the White House that an independent government review of the method is pointless, as the FBI “knows so little” about the tools that were used to access the iPhone 5c used by one of the shooters at the San Bernardino event last year.
A government review under the U.S. Vulnerabilities Equities Process, which allows federal agencies to determine whether or not critical security flaws should be shared with companies, would potentially lead to an order to disclose the security vulnerability to Apple. Without a review, Apple may not find out how the iPhone was breached.
“The decision, and the technical and bureaucratic justification behind it, would likely keep Apple in the dark about whatever security gap exists on certain models of the company’s phones, according to people familiar with the discussions.”Reuters and quoting the FBI’s Director, James Comey, outlines that he believes there’s not enough information right now to take any steps, whether towards a review or not:
“We are in the midst of trying to sort that out,” Comey said. “The threshold (for disclosure) is, are we aware of the vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don’t have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability to implicate the process?”
“We are close to a resolution.”
Apple and the Department of Justice have been in a battle, which grew to be very public, over encryption for quite some time. It’s recently been discovered that the FBI may have paid upwards of $1.3 million to access the iPhone 5c. While Apple has moved on with security and encryption, it’s also been said by the Director of the FBI that the unlocking method used to access the iPhone 5c does not work on any iPhone 5s model or later, but that it can be used to access an iPhone 5c and older — even if it’s running iOS 9.
The FBI has said the method used to break into the iPhone 5c does not work on the iPhone 5s and later, but it can be used to access iPhone 5c devices running iOS 9.