San Bernardino victims to support FBI in iPhone decryption fight

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
Families of the victims of last year's San Bernardino massacre plan to file a legal brief in support of U.S. Department of Justice efforts to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters, adding weight to the government's case against Apple, a report said Sunday.




A lawyer representing the victims told Reuters that his clients have a special interest in seeing Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5c unlocked and its data analyzed.

"They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen," said Stephen Larson, who served as a federal judge before going private.

Tashfeen Malik, Farook's wife and accomplice in the San Bernardino attack, pledged her loyalty to terrorist group ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook prior to carrying out the attack. The Islamic State later took responsibility for the shooting that left 14 people dead, not including the couple who died in an ensuing gun battle with law enforcement officers.

FBI and Justice Department officials are seeking information potentially stored on Farook's iPhone 5c, but the device is protected by a passcode. Officials were able to recover iCloud backups saved on Apple's servers, though the most recent data dates back to October 19.

A federal magistrate judge last week ordered Apple to assist in FBI forensic efforts, an action supported by a DOJ motion to compel filed days later.

Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an open letter to Apple's website opposing the request, saying the company has no tools in its arsenal that can break iOS encryption. Further, creating a workaround would fundamentally undermine the security protocols currently being used to protect consumer information stored on hundreds of millions of iOS devices.

"We mourn the loss of life and want justice for all those whose lives were affected," Cook said. "The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government's efforts to solve this horrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists."

It was learned late last week that the FBI purposely called on the iPhone 5c's owner San Bernardino County Department of Health, where Farook worked for five years, to reset the associated Apple ID password hours after impounding the device in December in an attempt to glean on-site data. Apple engineers, who were not made aware of the change until they were consulted January, said the move negated the possibility of extracting data from the handset without also breaking its encryption.

Apple is scheduled to respond to the court order on Feb. 26.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Considering it is their dumbass employer who fracked up in two different ways (no MDM) and reset the password, that's pretty bizarre; I smell exploitation of someone's pain for their own gain as the ultimate objective here by the FBI.

    The FBI is close to being the most sickening organisation in the US.
    mwhiteanantksundarampostmanbrakkenbaconstanganton zuykovpunkndrubliclolliverRayz2016Ani
  • Reply 2 of 71
    The whole thing is probably futile anyway. If the phone used an Alphanumeric Code (mine does) then even if Apple was to comply with the request it would still take hundreds of years to brute force the passcode and decrypt its data.
    baconstang
  • Reply 3 of 71
    Shred the bill of rights.  Just allow govt surveillance of everything for the children/victims families.

    /s. For those who miss the sarcasm.

    The bad guys employer screwed up 2x: no MDM and even reset the FRIGGIN' password.
    edited February 2016 baconstanglolliver
  • Reply 4 of 71
    Oh look the US government is again using terrorism as an excuse for a carte blanche violation of its constitution and civil liberties.
    postmanbrakkenbaconstanglolliverAnichiamatrix077irelandpalominemike1
  • Reply 5 of 71
    I can understand their grief, and wanting to lash out at someone.

    It's too bad the FBI is exploiting their grief in this blatant fashion. 
    hmmmattinozjahbladebaconstanganton zuykovericthehalfbeelolliverradster360fotoformatAni
  • Reply 6 of 71
    This is the real govt game, to use a pointless emotional response to trick the public to side with them to get what they really want which is no real security for anyone on an device. Blind Freddy knows that there's nothing on this particular phone. Worth a read.
    postmanlolliverbrian greenfreerangejony0
  • Reply 7 of 71
    Are the majority of commenters really believing what you are saying. The FBI is trying to prevent further episodes like this, and Tim Cook is only interested in protecting his bottom dollar, the entire worth of Apple is not worth the single life of any of those of who died. Come to reality people we do not protect these people, and the only ones concerned in their protection, are obviously doing something, they have to protect. I guess the people who side with Apple on this will not care until it someone they care, or love, that gets killed.
    tele1234
  • Reply 8 of 71
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    Oh look the US government is again using terrorism as an excuse for a carte blanche violation of its constitution and civil liberties.
    Minor detail, but perhaps you could just clarify which bit of the Constitution is being violated here.
  • Reply 9 of 71
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,738moderator
    Families of the victims of last year's San Bernardino massacre plan to file a legal brief in support of U.S. Department of Justice efforts to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters, adding weight to the government's case against Apple, a report said Sunday.

    A lawyer representing the victims told Reuters that his clients have a special interest in seeing Syed Ryzwan Farook's iPhone 5c unlocked and its data analyzed.

    "They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen," said Stephen Larson, who served as a federal judge before going private.

    It's unlikely the answers to the why and how lie on that mobile phone. They already know the 'why' anyway, they saw the shooter becoming radicalized:

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/05/san-bernardino-victim-had-argued-with-shooter-about-islam

    The 'how' was the acquisition of weapons:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/san-bernardino-shooters-arsenal-detailed-injury-count-increases/story?id=35551325

    Somebody sold them all that and it wasn't Apple. The terrorists didn't kill anyone using an iPhone. The motive was religious fanaticism, the opportunity was easy access to high power weapons and ammunition. That's all any terrorist needs, they don't need a phone at all. All a phone is for is the same thing we all use phones for - to keep in contact with people. If this was some stranger to the victims who had appeared in the US out of nowhere and managed to build up a cache of weapons very quickly while not being a citizen then there would be questions about national security. This action could have been done by anyone like the Colorado cinema shooting.

    Authorities have found phones belonging to terrorists before. The Paris attackers had basic communication on them:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/17/lets-go-text-found-on-paris-attackers-cell-phone.html

    They also found photos of potential future targets on their phones:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3367355/Bullring-bomb-plot-New-image-Paris-jihadi-s-phone-points-plan-terror-cell-target-Birmingham-shopping-centre.html

    Assuming the Bernardino terrorists even used this iPhone for anything related to what they did, there could be text instructions about the shooting, there could be terrorist contacts but authorities should have the call records from the phone company to determine the likelihood of this. Search engines probably have details about any web searches that were done from that device.

    They seem to be interested in the 4 hour period between the shooting and when the terrorists were killed because they don't know what happened. The phone would have some location data but it's hard to believe that there are no cameras, eyewitnesses, anything at all besides this one phone that can fill in the details.
    brakkenbaconstanglolliverAnipalominebadmonknolamacguydamonfmontrosemacs
  • Reply 10 of 71
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    e350coupe said:
    Are the majority of commenters really believing what you are saying. The FBI is trying to prevent further episodes like this, and Tim Cook is only interested in protecting his bottom dollar, the entire worth of Apple is not worth the single life of any of those of who died. Come to reality people we do not protect these people, and the only ones concerned in their protection, are obviously doing something, they have to protect. I guess the people who side with Apple on this will not care until it someone they care, or love, that gets killed.

    Do you really believe what your saying?  What are they doing that will prevent a future attack?  You also answered your own question.  If this issue is significant enough that weakening device security would actually have an effect on Apple's bottom line then it is apparently important to a great many people.

    brakkenbaconstanglollivertommikeledamonfjony0
  • Reply 11 of 71
    How about brute force the old password? I am sure Apple has the old passoword's hash somewhere. NSA should be able to crack that it a day or two. 
  • Reply 12 of 71
    e350coupe said:
    the entire worth of Apple is not worth the single life of any of those of who died.
    Unfortunately, the absurdity of claims like this escapes a great many people. Vaporizing a company like Apple would, through various indirections that nobody will ever research, kill more people than were lost in San Bernadino. Imagine how many US citizens will live shorter lives because of the trillions of dollars extracted from the US economy to prosecute wars in the aftermath of 9/11.

    Morality is a complex subject, requiring serious discussion by thoughtful people. In circumstances such as these, emotion is dangerous.
    anantksundaramjfc1138baconstanglolliverAnipalominetommikelemontrosemacs
  • Reply 13 of 71
    Let's compromise data security of 300M+ people because some losers went on a shooting rampage and killed less than two dozen people. Terrorists win. 
    metrix
  • Reply 14 of 71
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Peppyhare said:
    The court should throw Tim Cook into jail for contempt of court, and fine apple for refusing to comply with a court order.
    OR allow actual rule of law to proceed per, well, The United States Constitution. But sure, throw the FBI fools in jail who obstructed the case by directing San Bernardino mess with the iPhone account and lock everyone out. 

    A magistrate's writ is appealable. Pesky legal system. 
    edited February 2016 brakkenbaconstanglolliver
  • Reply 15 of 71
    I hear that Geraldo Rivera is going to host a show where the opening of the iPhone to reveal it's secrets will be broadcast from inside Al Capone's Vault.
    michael scripbaconstangradster360
  • Reply 16 of 71
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    mubaili said:
    How about brute force the old password? I am sure Apple has the old passoword's hash somewhere. NSA should be able to crack that it a day or two. 
    The Apple ID passcode was changed by the San Bernardino IT people following the fools at the FBI: now the only way in is through the iPhone passcode which is never transmitted to Apple, it stays on the phone. As users of iPhones know there's a ten try and auto-wipe selection. If that's set an FBI brute force password attack and ten failed tries and the phone wipes itself empty. 

    Apple le has already turned over all the data saved to the phone's iCloud account. This is a fishing trip to see if there's anything else on the phone. Low to zero odds since the terrorists crushed their two personal phones and didn't bother with this work one. Probably leaving it for work expecting the county IT people to have easy access. 
    edited February 2016 baconstanglolliverAni
  • Reply 17 of 71
    Feb 16th is also Apple's Annual General Shareholder meeting, its going to be a busy day at Apple...
  • Reply 18 of 71
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,041member
    Appropriate response to victims who are filing a lawsuit...

    "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life.  
    Your grief must be unbearable.  
    It was an unthinkable act done by cowards.
    But the answer is still NO."


    Two wrongs don't make a right.  
    Strong Encryption is needed.
    NO BACK DOORS.
    latifbpanton zuykovbaconstanglolliverunbeliever2AnidamonftommikeleRobJenk
  • Reply 19 of 71
    jfc1138 said:

    mubaili said:
    How about brute force the old password? I am sure Apple has the old passoword's hash somewhere. NSA should be able to crack that it a day or two. 
    The Apple ID passcode was changed by the San Bernardino IT people following the fools at the FBI: now the only way in is through the iPhone passcode which is never transmitted to Apple, it stays on the phone. As users of iPhones know there's a ten try and auto-wipe selection. If that's set an FBI brute force password attack and ten failed tries and the phone wipes itself empty. 

    Apple le has already turned over all the data saved to the phone's iCloud account. This is a fishing trip to see if there's anything else on the phone. Low to zero odds since the terrorists crushed their two personal phones and didn't bother with this work one. Probably leaving it for work expecting the county IT people to have easy access. 
    Here's the thing, though: if it's not a DoD wipe, ie alternate 0's and 1's are scanned across the entire storage drive multiple times in succession, then it's meaningless. I've been able to recover once-thought lost items from a reformatted hard drive using nothing but open-source consumer tools to find the ghost files.  I would imagine the FBI would be able to get the information they needed even after wiping it.
    palomine
  • Reply 20 of 71
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,918member
    It's a shame Obama's DOJ and FBI are using the victims as pawns in their attack on our rights. What else can you gleam from the iPhone? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. 
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