The FBI Is Capable of Hacking Into Cellphones but the Agency Won’t Explain Its Methods

Cellphones are ubiquitous in 2016, and it seems that just about everybody has one. Some people even have two: one for personal use and one for work. Most of us believe that our cellphone calls and text messages are kept completely private, viewable only by us and our cellphone service providers. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has hacked the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters (Syed Rizwan Farook), opening up a can of worms that might not ever get re-sealed. Farook and his wife Tafsheen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015.

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Is Privacy a Thing of the Past?

The mere fact that the FBI is now capable of accessing anyone’s cellphone data is cause for concern, yet the problem gets even worse when you consider the fact that the organization refuses to explain how it hacked the iPhone. Privacy advocates are adamant that the FBI should be required to submit all technical details of the hack to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP) as a part of a policy that permits wings of the government to provide software vulnerabilities to relevant vendors. The FBI’s assistant director for science and technology, Amy Hess, is on record as stating that the organization does not have sufficient information regarding the vulnerabilities to process it through the VEP. She states that the method was purchased through an outside party. The purchase does not include the rights to all the technical details and the extent of the vulnerabilities. This is the FBI’s grounds for not releasing its cellphone hacking methods.

Why the FBI iPhone Hack is So Important

Anyone who values his privacy or that of his business should be aware of the ramifications of the FBI’s San Bernardino iPhone hack. The saga actually involves a court order compelling Apple to help the FBI unlock the shooter’s iPhone. Thankfully, Apple held its ground and refused to comply with the court order. Yet it only took the FBI a few weeks to gain access to the phone without Apple’s assistance. It is rumored that the FBI acquired a secret iOS vulnerability to obtain access, while others believe that the FBI unlocked the phone by using multiple copies of the phone’s storage contents.

It is quite troublesome that the FBI refuses to submit the iPhone vulnerabilities to the VEP. It is likely that the selling party retained all rights to the hack so as to sell it to other parties. Had the FBI complied with VEP, Apple would have been able to patch the vulnerabilities and prevent the previously mentioned broker from selling it to others. The FBI has endorsed this barely tested tool by extending it to other government agencies. Many have characterized these actions as reckless behavior because the FBI has no idea how the tool works. The mere fact that such methods are being used might be enough to throw cases out of court with a simple objection to the procurement of evidence.

IT Services Austin

The bottom line is that businesses and organizations of all types should be concerned with the fact that individuals are out there (including those working for the FBI) who are capable of hacking cellphones, computers and other digital devices. Modern-day security is quite complicated and requires the expertise of cybersecurity aficionados who understand the idiosyncrasies of today’s highly nuanced computers. If you have any concern about your organization’s digital security, our IT services in Austin are available to help. NetOne Technologies is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at (561) 432-7823 or send us an email at for more information.

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