Tuesday 28 February 2017

Report says FBI paid hackers to crack iPhone

Mark O'Beirne

FBI
FBI

A report claims that the FBI paid a group of unidentified hackers to crack the iPhone 5C used by San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook.

The FBI paid hackers to crack the iPhone 5C used by San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reports that the FBI paid a one-time fee to an unnamed group of hackers. Though this group wasn’t identified in the report, it’s said that it wasn’t Israeli firm Cellebrite, as previous reports have claimed.

The hackers used a previously undiscovered security flaw in the iPhone's software, which was exploited using a hardware device to bypass the iPhone’s security feature that wipes its data after a series of unsuccessful login attempts.

The FBI is “considering” informing Apple what the security flaw used to crack the device was. However, FBI Director James Comey added, “It’s an interesting conversation because, we tell Apple, they fix it and then we’re back where we started from.”

Previously, tech analysts claimed that hackers would be more likely to help the FBI than Apple. Unlike companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, among others, Apple doesn’t pay hackers who expose vulnerabilities. This makes it more lucrative to sell this knowledge or help a paying party like the FBI.

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