FBI says hack tool only works on iPhone 5c

FBI Director James Comey said the FBI bought the tool

Only the iPhone 5c running iOS 9 can be unlocked by the tool the FBI bought to crack the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers.

The tool does not work on the iPhone 5s or 6, so it only addresses a "narrow slice" of iPhones, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said late Wednesday at Kenyon College.

The government is considering whether it should disclose to Apple the flaw that aided the hack: "We just haven't decided yet," he said at the Ohio college's Center for the Study of American Democracy.

A court in California ordered Apple to help the FBI to hack by brute force the passcode of the iPhone 5c. The government was concerned that, if an auto-erase feature was activated on the phone, the data that the FBI was looking for would be automatically erased after 10 unsuccessful attempts, so it wanted a workaround from Apple.

The FBI later said it had gained access to the data and the court vacated the order on Apple. The agency had earlier informed the court that it was was exploring a solution suggested by an external organization.

The agency has to date not disclosed the name of the organization or the hack that was used.

Apple had refused to help the FBI create what it said would amount to a new version of its operating system, as it would weaken its security, besides being dangerous if such a method was out in the wild.

Comey said the FBI is very good at keeping secrets and the agency has a high amount of confidence that the people it bought the tool from are very good at protecting it.

In another lawsuit in New York, the FBI is demanding that Apple should help it extract data from a locked iPhone 5s running  iOS 7 used by an alleged drug dealer. The government has appealed the case after a Magistrate Judge ruled in Apple's favor.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applefbi

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?