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If you have a newer iPhone, the FBI probably can’t hack you… yet

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Apple FBI

The Director of the FBI has admitted the tool used to crack open the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino terrorists doesn't work on any of the newer models.

Speaking at Kenyon College, Ohio, (via TechRadar) Director James Coney, said the passcode by-passing method is only functional on older iPhones.

“It’s a bit of a technological corner case, because the world has moved on to sixes,” he said. “This doesn’t work on sixes, doesn’t work on a 5s. So we have a tool that works on a narrow slice of phones.”

It's currently unclear what about the newer handsets makes them insusceptible to the method.

Coney also revealed the tool was purchased, rather than offered up by a private citizen seeking to help the government to investigate a terrorist, CNN Money reports.

"Litigation between the government and Apple over the San Bernardino phone has ended, because the government has purchased, from a private party, a way to get into that phone, 5c, running iOS 9,” Coney said.

"The people we bought this from, I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it, and their motivations align with ours."

See also: Apple vs the FBI: Why is Apple so upset?

The Feds’ inability to crack open an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s is welcome news for both Apple and millions of users who have upgraded to newer models.

Unfortunately for Apple, it still doesn’t know how the FBI got into the Syed Farook’s 5c, according to Coney.

He added: “We tell Apple, then they're going to fix it, then we're back where we started from. We may end up there, we just haven't decided yet."

Apple, of course, have famously refused to provide the FBI with a backdoor into disputed the iPhone. The parties were destined for court before the Feds found a way in.

With that in mind the FBI is unlikely to be giving the game away here. Unless, of course, a deal can be reached…

What are your thoughts on the Apple vs the FBI issue? Let us know in the comments below.

Rex Steinkuller

April 7, 2016, 9:47 pm

Here we go again!...lol

🇦🇺Marshall

April 8, 2016, 7:43 am

The well-flogged horse obviously hasn't disintegrated just yet.

toboev

April 8, 2016, 2:27 pm

A deal? Why not. Apple just need to find an existing security flaw (not manufacture a backdoor) to get the FBI in on a case by case basis. Then they roll out a security update to patch the flaw. It is nothing that Apple would not be doing anyway, the only difference is they synchronise the dance with the FBI.

It is more or less what happened here, except that the flaw was found by somebody else, so Apple can't make good with a patch.

One of these two scenarios is going to prevail, which would Apple prefer?

Rex Steinkuller

April 8, 2016, 5:09 pm

I'm not anti-apple, just anti Tim Cook baloney!

mode11

April 9, 2016, 10:07 am

Still not convinced the FBI even got into the 5C anyway, it was likely just an excuse to drop the case without losing face. They wanted to avoid setting a precedent that wasn't in their favour.

I'm sure they have a high degree of confidence the 'third party' won't talk. And the FBI will 'decline' to explain how they accessed the phone.

Either way, Apple will be hard at work further reinforcing iOS 9 / 10. And if they find an exploitable weakness in pre-5S hardware that negates this, they will either plug it with a firmware update, or at least know how the FBI claim is credible.

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