FBI Says It Hacked Into San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone Without Apple's Help
On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced it had successfully hacked into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone without assistance from Apple, ending its weeks-long court battle.
The phone, owned by shooter Syed Farook, had been at the center of both media and courtroom scrutiny, with the FBI compelling Apple to assist them in hacking into the phone to potentially retrieve data and Apple standing firm in its belief that by doing so, it could potentially put millions of iPhone owners' personal security at risk.
US Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement,
Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone. We sought an order compelling Apple to help unlock the phone to fulfill a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting — that we will not rest until we have fully pursued every investigative lead related to the vicious attack.
It is unknown which third party the FBI used to unlock the phone. It is also unknown if the FBI will continue to use this third-party vendor for other court cases.
Melanie Newman, a Justice Department spokeswoman, added in a statement,
It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails. We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors.