With Apple refusing to help the FBI in unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, the government has turned to someone else. In a filing today, the FBI said that an unnamed outside party had shown the agency a way to unlock the phone. The FBI wants to postpone tomorrow’s hearing to verify that method.
“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking [terrorist Syed] Farook’s iPhone,” reads the filing, according to Politico. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple…”
Update: The court has granted the FBI’s request. The government has until April 5 to test their new method and continue with the trial.
“We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy,” Cook said during his opening remarks this morning at the event on Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. campus.
While dropping the case would seem like a win for Apple, the optics may work against the iPhone maker. If the FBI is able to crack the iPhone with outside help, that demonstrates that there is a way into the platform that is beyond Apple’s control.
Well, someone found a zero-day in iOS :-(https://t.co/8ey1YPAbLe
— Jon Moss (@applerebel) March 21, 2016
However, updates to both iPhone hardware and software may have eliminated the holes that the FBI will use if this method works.
There are, of course, some conspiracies already forming about the move.