Home / Government Surveillance / They Can Already Hack the iPhone — FBI’s Public Display is Propaganda to Sell You the Police State

They Can Already Hack the iPhone — FBI’s Public Display is Propaganda to Sell You the Police State


The apparent battle between Apple and the FBI at least tells us that the post-Snowden privacy debate is still alive. The subject of the controversy is an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, and the FBI did not choose this case randomly.

If the surveillance state is to have any hope of gaining their vaunted “backdoor” into the electronic devices of everyone, then preying on the fear of terrorism has the biggest chance of success.

James Comey appears quite earnest about protecting Americans from evil:

“Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined,” Comey wrote on the Lawfare blog. “We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law.

We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” he wrote. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook does not agree:

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true,” Cook wrote. “Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”

Comey said the phone’s data might have information leading them to other terrorists, even though indications are that the two shooters were self-radicalized.

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However, what if this debate is actually a sideshow? What if the government already has the ability to hack into the iPhone?

As the surveillance state was met with fierce resistance for trying to force companies to install “backdoors” to their encryption, it was looking for other ways to gain the access it desires.

A secret “decision memo” was recently leaked to the press which details a meeting of the National Security Council that took place last November. The meeting of senior officials provided a framework for attempts to work around the “backdoor” issue, and shows that agencies already possess a deep understanding of tech companies’ encryption.

“What the court is ordering Apple to do, security experts say, does not require the company to crack its own encryption, which the company says it cannot do in any case. Instead, the order requires Apple to create a piece of software that takes advantage of a capability that Apple alone possesses to modify the permanently installed “firmware” on iPhones and iPads, changing it so that investigators can try unlimited guesses at the terror suspect’s PIN code with high-powered computers. Once investigators get the PIN, they get the data.

Knake said that the Justice Department’s narrowly crafted request shows both that FBI technical experts possess a deep understanding of the way Apple’s security systems work and that they have identified potential vulnerabilities that can provide access to data the company has previously said it can’t get.

In this case, the government wants Apple’s help in exploiting such weaknesses. But experts say they could find ways to do it themselves, and the NSC “decision memo” could lead to more money and legal authorization for a smorgasbord of similar workarounds.”

Many security experts believe that the FBI and NSA can already hack into an iPhone without Apple’s help, using a number of techniques such as “infrared laser glitching” or “de-capping.” Edward Snowden backed this up last week in a virtual interview with Johns Hopkins University. These techniques, although risky to the chip, are already in use by the most advanced hackers and, very likely, the NSA.

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If the government already has its own access to the iPhone, then the FBI’s chosen “debate” with Apple is an exercise in wearing down public resistance to the surveillance state.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) could have used a dozen other cases of locked phones to push this debate. On Tuesday, it was reported that DoJ was pursuing about 12 court orders to force Apple to help extract data from iPhones. But the San Bernardino terror case gave them an opportunity to sway public opinion.

Indeed, as The Intercept reports, authoritarians are salivating at the possibility of trampling over the last defense of tech companies and privacy advocates.

“In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, district attorney’s office spokesperson Jake Wark said prosecutors “can’t rule out” bringing their own case of a locked cellphone before a judge, too. “It may be a question of finding the right case,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s going to have significant ramifications on us locally,” Matt Rokus, deputy chief of Wisconsin’s Eau Claire Police Department, told the city’s Leader-Telegram newspaper on Monday.

In South Dakota, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that “the court’s ruling could have a significant impact on conducting sensitive criminal investigations.”…

In a new letter to customers posted on Monday, Apple drew attention to the enthusiastic response from other law enforcers: “Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock if the FBI wins this case.””

Then there is the unusual piece of news that the Apple password on the shooter’s iPhone was changed less than 24 hours after the shooting, which meant that automatic iCloud backups were put on hold. The password was changed by someone at the San Bernardino Health Department at the FBI’s behest.

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Apple says that if this had not happened, all the information sought by the FBI might be present on iCloud backups. It now only has backups up to the week of October 19. The FBI claims that it did this to gain “immediate access to the iCloud backup data.” But why would it sacrifice total access to gain immediate access?

After having created the difficulty of gaining the access it wants, government is now attempting to force the tech company to create the backdoor to encryption wanted so badly by the surveillance state.

Federal government is unrelenting in its drive to sacrifice freedom for “security,” and they never let a tragedy go to waste.

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  • Justin Rester Bryan Russell

  • All they want is the illusion of incompetence.

  • Who’s screaming terrorists have rights!… is this an ISIS sponsored post? Under the First Amendment we have the right of free speech except when it endangers the people as in screaming “fire” in a theater. The people come first, not those that would us harm.

  • So does this have anything to do with the Patriot act?

    • Not directly!!
      This has to do with being able to search your phones quickly and easily at border stops and police stops!!
      This has nothing to do with terrorists and nothing to do with keeping people safe!!
      The NSA, CIA, FBI, DOD, DOJ are all perfectly capable of doing what the Government is suing Apple for already. Border agents & Police officers are not. And since border & police officers incounter more people in a day than any other government agency they want the phones to be easy enough to access that a lowly cop or border patrol agent can get into it for data collection reasons!!

  • seriously i haven’t shut the fuck up about this. the NSA records all ur keystrokes already.. THEY JUST KEEPIN US DISTRACTED DOE

  • Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings. – Unknown.

  • I have not believed for one second that the Federal Government cannot unlock a damn IPhone. But I have been publicly scorned and ridiculed for that belief. I would like for somebody to explain to me how it is that governments can hack other governments and junior high students can get into corporation networks but the damn Federal government cannot unlock an IPhone. I live my life just assuming there is nothing I do or see or say or read or hear that is not monitored.

    • Here Here – fully agreed!!
      To try an tell even an uneducated person that the NSA Homaland and FBI are all beaten by an Apple programer is folly!!
      PS – If that were true why is Apple not America’s spy agency?
      Can you imagine the headline “NSA, FBI, CIA outdone by Apple tech staff”!!

    • Exactly.

    • It’s appalling how many people dismiss this obviously absurd scenario.

    • Well, I have to admit I feel better about my assumption. I just thought maybe there was something I was not understanding. I am not a tech geek for sure but it just seemed completely implausible to me that an IPhone would present an insoluable problem for our trillion dollar military industrial complex.

    • Hey… Give the FBI credit. They’re trying to find that third white shooter… #setup #falseflag

    • Ding Ding Ding…. What do we have for him johnny.

    • Actually, they cannot hack everything. You give them way too much credit.

      Generally the NSA/FBI uses brute force methods of unlocking a device. This tests millions of unlock codes until it reaches a match, which can take minutes to months/years depending how complex/long the password is.

      Now….the issue is the device’s contents are encrypted, meaning you cannot just hook it up to something and view the contents. You need the contents decrypted using the password.

      However, the phone wipes itself of all data after 10 failed attempts. That’s the problem, and that’s why they are fussing about it. And no, the FBI/NSA/CIA cannot access it. You need to remember, they are people too, not super humans with abilities far beyond our own homegrown hackers.

    • So, what happens if I forget my password?

    • Chances are you arent using this level of encryption on your phone/computer so I wouldnt worry about it.

    • The reason I ask is that your explanation is the one that I have been given by more than one person.

    • The Panoptican is complete, sadly. Open source encryption is the best. If anyone thinks Apple can’t hack into the devices they helped encrypt, methinks they are not paying attention…

    • Do a cursory search into Apple’s methods of encryption, you will find out is very secure, not impossible but without a modified os, impossible.

    • Hacking into something is not remotely the same thing as breaking encryption. While the government is definitely showboating with this case, they most definitely do not have the ability to “unlock” iPhones whenever they feel like it.

  • Jordan Adkins errrmmm

  • good point

  • Trap

  • phuck apple…i go android and know howw to cook& flash roms…remove installed spyware and install blocks.

  • Anyone who didn’t figure that out by now is a naive ostrich.

  • Duh. I said that in the original up in arms post. Just connect it to a computer running Linux.

  • This is entirely believable…

  • With all the regressive laws that Republican states are passing.. they will need a police state to control our outrage.

  • Who didn’t see that coming. ..

  • There is already software to bypass icloud, I’ve used it before to restore an ipad that was locked. Same goes for Android, I don’t know why they passing for this so hard when it can be done already. Now if you’re talking about back doors and accessing a user’s phone remotely, that can be done as well via app permissions.

    • I can tell you why!!
      This is all about border and police stops. Yes the NSA, FBI, CIA can access your phone easily but it takes time to get them the phone and then some time to work on it….
      Everytime you cross the border all electronic devices are game for a search, a search in which they do not have the time to send it to the NSA and back. The same goes for police stops and phone inspections at the police station!!
      This is all about gaining quick access so everyones phone can be searched within mins. at borders and police stops!!
      This has nothing to do with terrorist’s!!

    • Soon some devs will code apps to counter that.

    • Jared Lazar I think it’s all about bypassing the need to get a warrant to access that said data on the I phone. If they could say get the power to monitor someone’s real time data while they were active now that is something else entirerly.~

  • Again and again.

  • MOM’S… DAD’S… talk to your kids NOW that are in law enforcement or the military about whether they will turn guns on their family and friends. The Establishment can’t control us if we won’t kill our own. Good grief.!!! The people don’t want this…. WHO DOES.???

    • I have asked many people in law-enforcement and military if they’ve been asked that question by their superiors.
      They all say no,but they have been asked if they would fire upon an American militia.
      I tell them,you or me & a couple neighbors could be considered a militia if we were against their bullshit & they could just kill us,but they’re so brainwashed that they believe the bullshit themselves…
      Very sad…

  • Skynet? You know, people are killed based on meta data alone.

  • If you think your government is truthful you are not aware

  • Isn’t that what Stingray does, get everything from a user’s phone without their knowledge?

  • A lot of people are starting to see through the b/s.

  • Gotta love that US government

  • Shane Joseph Arnold

  • Obviously. It would be very naive to believe there are any devices that can’t be hacked.

  • Good thing I don’t actually use iphones. Never have and definitely never will now.

  • Man I been doing this for years…..

  • Yup sure can

  • Duuuuuuuuuuh! I’ve been trying to tell people this, there’s nothing they can’t access. They just can’t prosecute if the information was obtained through their usual bully and steal tactics.

  • exactly.. I am to understand that even in Canada, where I am from, the cops can zap your phone as you pass them on the highway and read all your texts. You being none the wiser.. hence, my music https://www.reverbnation.com/blackeyebutterfly/song/25291347-heaving-it-behind-me

  • yup

  • What I’ve been thinking. B.S. Then the biggest pro police site supports apple like to say trust the police.

  • Rutger Maters verbaasd me niets ☹

  • I have been thinking this for awhile now. So sick of this mind control and propaganda. What can we do? Buy some land and live off of it with a choice few friends and family, live like the natives do/did…..stop consuming and start living. They won’t know what to do when everyone is happy, taking care of themselves and not on medication and gmo poisoned food…. Who’s with me? LOL (i’m broke, so I have to borrow some cash to get that land, but I’m good for it)

  • NSA has the ability to spy you on your webcam .They can listen anything while your phone is switched on and connected with a network .

  • this was the whole purpose of the false flag san bernadino attacks

  • If i remember the Aftermath of the San Bernardino Shootings the Media were allowed into the House a short time after the two People were Shot Dead by the Police, Was this Proper Procedure After all they were Handling Items in the House and may have Interfered with Evidence just seemed Strange the scene was not Cordoned Off after such Horrific Killings.

    • It’s called a set up. Anyone w sense saw the reporters trampling the evidence. ..the police would have it taped off for forensic evidence for days.
      It’s the classic false flag.

  • The Free Thought Project.com, I really want to read your pages, and exposes’. I feel you have good information that needs to be shared. BUT, there are so many ads running and eating up bandwidth I can’t afford, and when I checked to see what was loading,Then when I noticed the locator and tattletale software going on, I need to make a decision about following your site. Do you have a less ‘noisy’ news location I can peruse?

  • So what’s really going on while America is distracted with this

  • amen to that.

  • Remember the Patriot Act?

  • About an hour ago I watched the former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson hand Cavuto his own a*s on his own show on this subject ,and versed him on the U.S. Constitution. It was truly a beautiful thing to watch ,I was yelling at the TV! 😀

  • No shit.

  • Ricardo OrtalRaul Rawlo TorresDan Parris interesting…

  • any university has the computer power to handle bit encryption for just i single device, i thought.

  • If they were really concerned about public safety the focus would be on protecting people from the military style police state (shootings) that are prevalent across the nation rather than isolated random acts of violence.

    • I’ve had guns pointed at me 4 times in my life. My official record is trespassing and I had 1 gram of weed but that was it. Good thing I don’t get pissed off at Walgreens habitually or I might have life sentence. And don’t even get me started about being Arab American and random searches.

  • The only propaganda I hear is coming from The Free Thought Project.

  • I would like to share a post I made 4 day’s ago.. on this very subject…
    Dave Larsen
    February 20 at 5:48am ·
    .Just a pondering thought.. On this Apple not complying with the FBI request to unlock this phone.. This has been a topic of discussion in the New’s and social media..And by the way. The FBI “CAN” make them do so with existing law’s.. All this hoopla is unnecessary..They want something…And I do believe unlocking that phone is not that something… I don’t think many are seeing the big picture here…”””And I could be wrong”” It wouldn’t be a first…I am of the firm belief. That anything the “private” sector has going on in the communications technology. You can almost bet.. Your Military R&D and its programs are 20 years ahead of the private sector. . You don’t believe or you might.. That the technology you and I utilize daily… Are above or equal to.. The technology’s that our FBI, Secret Service ,Black ops.. CIA and our military are using do you.? You have to think they’re on equal ground with what we use as civilians. .If they cant hack that phone.?? Let that sink in for a moment…These programs spend TRILLIONS of your tax dollars on R&D programs..Black ops programs. Air craft and guidance systems. Ultimately sending Man to the freaking moon and on to Mars… But they cant hack a I-phone. Your getting milked!. I find that extremely hard to believe..So If that be true…What does the FBI “really want permission legally to do”?

  • I want them to hear what I’m saying. Get real people.

  • I already believed that they could do that

  • I assumed that… Probably the easiest to gain access to, via Apple…

  • Uh. The technologies we have today, all the computing power from mobile devices, computers, etc.. combined it would take about 77,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to decrypt 128-bit encryption.

    That’s a literal fact.

  • ANY PHONE , ANY PC , ANY online MACINE ANYWHERE is Hackable , NOTHING is safe, didn’t you all know this? being online , means giving away ALL your info at any given time , NOTHING IS SAFE ,

  • I know hackers iphones are the easiest to hack !!!!

  • Duh they own the phone lol

  • We know that

  • They are raking apple over the coals to force them to OBEY. They want every one to fear them and OBEY. It was another black ops as immediately after people who were witnesses were interviewed saying it was tall white men in swat get up that did the shooting and there was a swat drill being done not far away. It is all for a show of force to propagate fear and OBEDIENCE.

  • Any one would have to be a fool to think anything sent over the air waves is secure.

  • They want Apple to make a special OS for law enforcement so they can hack *any* iphone. They use terrorism as an excuse.

  • Gregory Cushing

    That stalking exboyfriend of your wife became an FBI agent and decided to target your family so she will go back to him. He uses all the tools of violating your rights covered under “making us safe” and ruins your life, your kids kill themselves because their parents are clearly horrible people, and Mr. Stalker FBI dude says that they got what they deserved, time to marry him so he can make you happy.

  • nothing we can do about anything the government is doing so dont waste your breath.dont like it,go to jail or die

  • Stingrays for everyone!!!!

  • Tim Cook, you are a hero! Stick to your guns

  • Can’t they use Stingray Towers to intercept cell data?

  • It’s deceptive to write about things you don’t understand, and this is a prime example. Yes, the NSA has tools and methods to extract data from locked iPhones, but they’re time consuming and expensive. Not practice to use on a large number of iPhones. The FBI wants a general method to brute force the lock on iPhones without triggering lockout measures. That’s dangerous because once the software that allows that is created, it spreads and the iPhone’s security is considered untrustworthy by people, companies and governments around the world.

    • It was only a few years ago that Apple adopted protocols and encryption that allowed a corporate IT group to push specific protocols and install protection (pioneered by RIM) that denies a user access to unapproved apps and sites. I can see the iPhone with FBI compliant iOS falling out of favor with corporate IT security and I’m sure that is one of Apples concerns.

    • This has nothing to do with Apple’s corporate configuration utility. That tool is used to push policies, certificates and configurations on devices. The encryption and security measures are core features. The simple truth is that an FBI compliant iOS would fall out of favor with everyone because it will be considered unsafe in general. You wouldn’t be able to trust it with anything.

  • Agent76

    Dec 2, 2015 San Bernardino shooting WITNESS ’41NBC’ *They were all white men*


  • All technology created for civilian use has backdoor methods for certain agencies. This is nothing new and will not change.

  • Whoa…huh.

  • Jimmy Green

    They already have the entire contents of this iphone at the NSA. This whole thing is a ruse to get the keys from apple so that they can access any iphone WITHOUT A COURT ORDER.

  • Jimmy Green

    The real shooters were white. So fuck the FBI

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