FBI’s Claim That Only Apple Can Unlock the iPhone Is “Horseshit”, Says Edward Snowden

NSA whistleblower and former NSA employee Edward Snowden has claimed that the FBI’s claim that only Apple can unlock the iPhone belonging to the dead terrorist from the San Bernardino shooting is simply untrue.

Speaking from Moscow, Snowden was a part of a discussion at Common Cause’s conference called Blueprint for a Great Democracy, Edward Snowden stated:

The FBI has submitted in court that Apple has the “exclusive technical means” [to unlock the phone].

Respectfully, that’s horse-shit.

The entire video can be found below.

Snowden had previously referenced a method, explained here, wherein the FBI could ostensibly bypass the auto-erase feature dreaded by the authorities.

The bypass essentially counts on the notion that the counter that notes the number of passcode attempts is stored in NAND flash memory on the iPhone via the Effaceable Storage.

As described by the post on the ACLU website, an excerpt reads:

All the FBI needs to do to avoid any irreversible auto-erase [security feature] is simply copy that flash memory (which includes Effaceable Storage) before it tries 10 passcode attempts [the number of attempts allowed by Apple’s software before data is erased].

It can then re-try indefinitely, because it can restore the NAND flash memory from its memory backup.

Furthermore, the explanation revealed that the FBI can simply remove the NAND flash chip from the circuit board by de-soldering it. After connecting it to a device capable of reading and writing NAND flash, the FBI can copy all of its data, the post added.

It [the FBI] can the replace the chip, and start testing passcodes. If it turns out that the auto-erase feature is on, and the Effaceable Storage gets erased, they can remove the chip, copy the original information back in, and replace it.

The explanation also revealed:

If the FBI doesn’t have the equipment or the expertise to do this, they can hire any one of dozens of data recovery firms that specialize in information extraction from digital devices.

Featured image from Youtube/Common Cause.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.