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As Justice Department Pressures Apple, Investigators Say iPhone is Easier to Crack


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Forensic tools used to hack into iPhones have been enhanced recently, making iPhones like this iPhone 7 easier to crack.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr described Apple as unhelpful to the government as it seeks to unlock two iPhones belonging to an aviation student from Saudi Arabia who authorities say killed three people at a Florida U.S. Navy base last month.

Credit: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Security experts said new hacking tools can more easily crack many Apple gadgets, even as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) pressures Apple to provide access to the contents of two iPhones owned by a Saudi aviation student who allegedly killed three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida last month.

Apple said DOJ notified the company that the Federal Bureau of Investigation required additional access, following Apple's provision of iCloud backups, account information, and transactional data for one of the suspect's iPhones.

Companies like Grayshift offer methods for extracting data from recent iPhone models, while new forensics products could likely retrieve the iPhone's data for $15,000 or less; one tool built with Checkm8 software exploits an unpatchable flaw in Apple's hardware, and operates on all iPhone devices.

Sarah Edwards of the SANS Institute, which trains cybersecurity investigators, said, "It's a cat-and-mouse game. Apple locks things, but if someone wants to find a way to get into these devices, they will find a way."

From The Wall Street Journal
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