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After all of the fuss the FBI probably doesn’t need Apple’s help to hack phones

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David Cornish
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The US Justice Department has cancelled a court hearing with Apple, as a result of the FBI suggesting it might have found a way to unlock the San Bernardino attacker's iPhone without Apple's help.

The news will come as a disappointment to Apple and its CEO Tim Cook, who launched this week's 'Special Event' with a thinly veiled attack on the FBI.

"We did not expect to be in this position - at odds with our own government," he told the assembled Apple fans and journalists at the Cupertino HQ. "But we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy."

The US Justice Department had ordered Apple to assist the FBI in unlocking an iPhone used by Rizwan Farook - a gunman who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last December. He was eventually fatally shot by US police.

Prosecutors have now stated that "an outside party" has demonstrated that it can unlock an iPhone without any assistance from Apple in breaking the encryption key that has so far confounded them. 

"Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook's iPhone," a court filing said. "If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple."

Apple's attorneys have told reporters that they have no knowledge of who the third party is, nor what method they claim to have discovered to unlock the phone - but you can expect Apple to block such security flaws in any and all updates to future iOS updates, should they be made apparent. 

The FBI's prosecutors have said they will update the court on the matter on 5 April.

[Via: BBC]

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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