Areport shared by Forbes claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used third party hacks to unlock an iPhone 11 Pro Max last year. The iPhone, in question, belongs to Baris Ali Koch – an accused in helping his convicted brother flee the country by lying to the authorities. This was a rare event of unlocking an iPhone by law enforcement reported to date.
FBI never agreed that the iPhone 11 was hacked using a third party hacking tool but the lawyer of Koch said that the password to unlock the iPhone was not shared with the FBI and unlocking the device in any other way like FaceID was not practically possible.
In a search warrant filed on October 30, 2019, it is stated that the FBI had a USB drive in their possession which contained GrayKey derived forensic analysis of the iPhone. GrayKey is a hardware tool used to crack open an iPhone for extracting data. Agencies like ICE and DEA often use GrayKey to access information from criminals’ iPhones.
FBI on Pensacola Shooting Massacre
Recently, the FBI asked tech giant Apple to help in unlocking two iPhones including an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7. Both the iPhones were possessed by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani who killed three sailors and brutally injured around eight people in the Pensacola shooting massacre.
Apple shared all the information related to the iPhones as well as the data stored in the linked iCloud but refused to unlock the iPhones. Apple has said that unlocking an iPhone is against its policies and it will create trust issues in all the Apple users.
Now, with the recent FBI report, the question arises why are authorities pushing Apple to unlock the two iPhones despite the fact that they can use GrayKey to unlock it themselves. It is seen as a measure to mount pressure on Apple to allow an option to law enforcement agencies to unlock iPhones when the need arises.
As of now, the FBI, US President Donald Trump and Attorney General Barr are going to use the Pensacola shooting massacre to initiate a legal fight against Apple’s encryption policy. Donald Trump scolded Apple by saying that the tech giant is not cooperating with the Department of Justice. Apple dealt with a case similar to this in 2016 when the company refused to unlock an iPhone related to the San Bernardino shooting incident.