Apple’s iPhone is known to be heavily encrypted, but the FBI was able to get into it following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. Since then, how it hacked the iPhone has been a big secret, but that now has been made public (though not fully).
Apple and the FBI tussle
Since the FBI first made it public that it had hacked the iPhone of the terrorists involved in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, people were curious to know how the agency did it. Three news organizations even sued the FBI in September to get the information.
Now the FBI has released a 100-page document revealing how it hacked the iPhone, but the main part is heavily censored, according to the Associated Press. The document contains no information about the person the FBI hired to hack into the iPhone or how much it paid the vendor.
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After the December 2015 attack in which 14 people were killed, the government and Apple have tussled regarding the phone lock. The government asked Apple to unlock the phone and make its data accessible. However, Apple turned down the request, saying it would result in weakening the encryption and leaving iPhone users at risk.
Then the Department of Justice made a surprising revelation in March, stating that an unnamed outside party helped agents unlock the iPhone 5C that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the terrorists involved in the shooting. But the agency did not reveal how the hacker unlocked the phone.
Big secret revealed, but not all
The Associated Press, Vice and Gannett filed the lawsuit against the FBI, seeking the information about the hacker the agency used and what it paid. However, the FBI refused to give any information to the organizations under the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI stated that the record was compiled to present to law enforcement authorities, and releasing it might disturb ongoing enforcement proceedings.
In the lawsuit, the news organizations argued that the FBI is obligated to tell the public about the money it spent to obtain the hacking technique. Further, they discussed the existence of a secret flaw in the iPhone that could be dangerous for the public.
Now the FBI has released the document stating that it received three submissions from companies to get into the iPhone and signed a non-disclosure agreement with the vendor. However, it concealed the crucial information, according to the Associated Press. An FBI spokeswomen stated that the agency will not reveal any information beyond this.