FBI Finally Cracked iPhone, But Did Apple Help Them – “Secretly”?

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Mar 29 2016
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Former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden was right after all when he revealed his refusal to use Apple’s iPhone. It isn’t secure at all as Apple would like you to believe. For 6 weeks, the Government of the United States was at war with Silicon Valley giant Apple over cracking an iPhone belonging to terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook.


The U.S.-born Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik had killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernandino and the FBI wanted access to his iPhone’s contents. Apple would have had assisted FBI if not for a revelation by Snowden in 2013 that U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on Americans with the helps from tech giants themselves.

Edward Snowden with NSA background

Suddenly, the U.S. government withdrew from its battle against Apple on Monday. The reason why the Justice Department officially withdrew its legal action against Apple is quite puzzling – FBI has managed to crack the iPhone. Apparently, FBI has successfully cracked the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone 5c used by Mr. Farook, with the help by an unidentified entity.


In its two-page filing in a California magistrate’s court, the government noted that due to outside assistance it “no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc.” Strangely, the FBI insisted for weeks that “only” Apple could crack the contents of Farook’s iPhone. Now that an outsider expert, many suspect it to be Israel Cellebrite, had cracked the iPhone, it creates more questions than answers.

Apple vs FBI - iPhone Cracking Case

  1. Who helped and showed the FBI how to break into iPhones?
  2. How did the government bypass the security features that Apple has invested millions of dollars to build into its flagship product?
  3. Are newer iPhones vulnerable to the same hacking technique?
  4. Will the FBI share its information with other states and local police agencies that said they also need to break into the iPhones of criminal suspects?
  5. Will the FBI reveal to Apple how it broke its security?


The government maintained it was looking for access to one phone. However, Apple argued that asking for a code that could access the iPhone 5c would create a backdoor to all such devices that was exploitable by other entities. Therefore, the FBI wasn’t interested in leaving Farook’s iPhone on Apple’s desk to be cracked, go for a cup of latte at Starbucks and return for the results.

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook - San Bernandino Shooting Terrorism

Instead, the FBI wanted the access to the code or at least wanted Apple to establish a backdoor to Apple’s encryption, so that the government could hack any iPhone whenever they like. Of course, Apple fought back, or at least pretended to fight back because if they didn’t, all hell will break loose.


Apple’s sales would drop like a rock and their stock price could tumble because their smartphones and tablets are hackable, not to mention the tech giant actually surrenders to the government request. But if the FBI has already engaged a third party outsider to break the iPhone, why did they insist on taking Apple to the court house?

FBI Cracked iPhone 5c

One school of thought believes the FBI have already cracked Farook’s iPhone 5c running on iOS-9 much earlier. But since Apple updated its operating system so the passcode is linked to the phone’s overall encryption in late 2014, the government couldn’t use the same method on newer iPhone so they wanted access to the iOS code in its entirety instead.


Another school of thought thinks that Apple was working hand in glove with FBI on the case since day one – secretly. So far, the FBI refuses to reveal the mysterious technique. Hence, the belief was the whole legal action was nothing but a drama staged by both the government and the giant tech for a win-win solution.

Israel Cracked FBI iPhone 5c

By putting the blame on a third party who cracked the iPhone 5c, Apple can continue to trumpet that they have made good on their promise not to surrender to the powerful Government of the United States. And customers can continue to place their trust in the hand of Apple – supposedly the most secured smartphone in the market – and buy more.


Apple could easily countered that even though Farook’s iPhone had been cracked by the third party engaged by FBI, the method only works on iPhone 5c, not later models of iPhone. With Apple’s “special” assistance, FBI, who can now happily crack any iPhone 5c they like, doesn’t need to pick a fight with the rest of the technology community.

USA Technology Companies Work With PRISM Spy Program

Until the next terrorist starts shooting and gets killed leaving an iPhone 6 or later version, Apple and FBI don’t need to fight on cracking the smartphone. Perhaps the third party who cracked the iPhone 5c was none other than a special software existed in any iPhone as per claimed by Snowden last year. After all, Apple allegedly joined PRISM in 2012, a data mining project of the NSA.


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