March 28, 2016

Apple Bites, Part 5: Not Surprising Result

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:44 pm

AppleCore copyAccording to the New York Times skews paper, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked the Federal District Court for the Central District of California to vacate its order to compel Apple to find a way to unlock the Apple iPhone 5C used by the San Berdo Two Islamist terrorists.

OpenCdA is not surprised at this outcome.  As we observed in a comment appended to our February 26, 2016 Apple Bites, Part 2 post:

“On the other hand, don’t overestimate the quality of Apple’s or any other product’s engineering and design people. People in those occupations often fall in love with their product and become blind to the vulnerabilities that they have inadvertently (and often carelessly and negligently) engineered in. When confronted with incontrovertible evidence of a major vulnerability, everyone from the lowest snuffy design engineer up through their lying lawyers and the CEO in another country will deny the proof proves what it clearly does prove.”

Neither are we surprised that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook now wants the FBI to tell Apple what the vulnerability is so Apple can fix it.

Good luck with that.

It is not up to the FBI to use taxpayer money to identify and exploit the vulnerability your whizbang engineers stated out of ignorance or intention didn’t exist, then reveal it to you so Apple can gain a significant advantage over competitors (not to mention wiping the substantial egg off Apple’s corporate face).

Neither is it up to the FBI to compromise what may be a very effective intelligence and counterintelligence tool which it or one of its contractors developed in response to Apple’s denial.

We suspect the FBI and the rest of the Intelligence Community will consider giving Apple what it wants pursuant to a still-evolving Vulnerabilities Equities Process, but only after the value of the information to others has perished.

Or maybe Tim Cook really is a 21st century skunk … ? After all, the skewspaper article didn’t identify the company which did the break in.


  1. Wow, what an opportunity for a slam dunk, no bid, no compete, secret, iron clad contract. I’ll guess it will take less than a week for the technology to leak. So the wizard better move fast.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — March 29, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

  2. Gary,

    Apple has denied being the unidentified company that came up with the zero day defeat, and it certainly seems that Apple stands to be the big loser. It’s hard to see how Apple ends up benefiting financially after first assuring its buyers that its iPhones are secure, then telling the Court the system is secure and can’t be broken, then having it broken by an outside company under contract to the FBI. It’s not so much that Apple and its CEO Tim Cook were lying. Rather, like so many technology companies, Apple arrogantly puts on the blinders and tends to believe everything their engineers and marketing people say about the product.

    Quite a few people have wondered why the FBI didn’t ask NSA or possibly some other member of the Intelligence Community to break in to the iPhone 5C. I suspect the reason is that the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation which could lead to the arrest and criminal trial of persons as yet unknown on charges relating to international terrorism. I have little doubt that NSA could break in to the phone, but that could then require NSA to identify its break in method in the public criminal trial. For the NSA to reveal that method in a public trial would compromise an important counterintelligence method. By using an outside contractor, the FBI gets admissible evidence for a criminal trial and the Intelligence Community is not forced to reveal methods essential to the national security.

    There is one proven way that any digital communication technology can be made secure. First, run the product through a crusher that reduces it to pieces the size of a grain of sand. Then subject the pieces to temperatures of about 1800 degrees F for at least two hours. After the melted goo cools, bury it with Jimmy Hoffa’s body.

    Comment by Bill — March 30, 2016 @ 5:45 am

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