Mar 29, 2016 11:36 AM EDT

Breaking News: FBI Hacks Terrorist’s iPhone Without Apple’s help

The FBI announced yesterday that it had already unlocked the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino shooter, without the help of Apple. It would no longer force the tech giant's software engineers to crack open its encryption code.

This move came after one week when the justice department suddenly stopped the high-stakes legal battle by announcing that the FBI is using the help of an unnamed group that offered an effective technique to hack the iPhone's content.

Although government prosecutors stated that this new technique could do it, they still requested the judge for a postponement of the court hearing last week in order to validate if they will really get access to the iPhone without jeopardizing the important information it contained.

Government prosecutors wrote in their three-sentence filing that they "now successfully accessed the data" contained on the terrorist's iPhone. Consequently, they no longer need a court order to force Apple to do it.

This impressive move prevented a courtroom showdown between FBI and Apple as well as other groups that are pushing for privacy and security against government prying into the private communication of individuals.

Should the FBI get the nod of the court, privacy interest groups believe it would set a dangerous precedence.

The prosecutors' filing did not mention how the FBI cracked open the iPhones encryption code, or what the agency has learned about Farook's plan from the contents of his iPhone.

It is now for the FBI to decide if it will reveal the method to Apple in consideration of an obscure process where federal officials are required to inform a concerned company about the weaknesses they find in their devices.

"Disclosing vulnerabilities usually makes sense," wrote Michael Daniel, a cyber security coordinator and a special assistant to the president in a White House blog post.

"But there are legitimate pros and cons to the decision to disclose, and the trade-offs between prompt disclosure and withholding knowledge of some vulnerabilities for a limited time can have significant consequences," added Daniel.

Get the Most Popular Jobs&Hire Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
© 2017 Jobs & Hire All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics