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Azimuth Security cracked San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone for FBI

Illustration for an article titled Mystery of Who Cracked the San Bernardino Shooter iPhone for the FBI, edited after 5 years.

Photograph: A. Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

When the US government wants breaBecoming the iPhone of dead terrorists years ago, they turned to Australia’s little-known cyber security startup to help them do it. Washington Post investigation Sydney-based Azimuth Security specializes in providing the best possible technical service to its clients. According to the website.

These services enabled the FBI to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook’s cell phone, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, shooting and killing 14 people in Southern California during what it calls “San bernardino terrorist attackIn 2015, at the time, the government naturally wanted to know if the pair had ties to foreign extremist groups, and the killer’s phone data was seen as a natural way to find out.

So the government paid Azimuth $ 900,000 to really help them solve the case.The company’s contract with the government was disclosed by the post on Wednesday and confirmed by Additional reports From motherboards, the news has been helping unravel the identity of hackers for years, whose likes have been government secrets to date.

Although based in Australia, Azimuth is real. L3 technologyIt is a large defense contractor that provides a wide range of defense and intelligence services to large federal agencies such as the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the post, it is one of the company’s former researchers, an iOS “expert” cracking “David Wang” who helped develop a single exploit chain to break into Farook’s phone called “Vultures”. The exploit was tested multiple times at the FBI headquarters to make sure it could safely intrude into the phone’s system without damaging the data.The feds later used it to successfully hack into the device, it was found. Contrary to their suspicions, the pair had no relationship with foreign terrorist networks. (Interestingly, Wang is now being sued by Apple for an apparently unrelated matter, according to the post.)

San Bernardino iPhone cases sparked what it called New “crypto war” – a battle between Apple and the federal government over crypto technology. Prior to the actual phone cracking, the government attempted to bully Apple to crack its own products, with the FBI suing the phone maker for access.In 2016, the tech giant denied it and the case was lifted.

At the time, critics argued and later proved correct that the feud was not about the technical reach of the phone, but the feds only tried. Set a legal precedent That would allow them to urge the private sector to decrypt the product for them in the future or install a backdoor in encryption technology. Ministry of Justice 2018 Report of the Inspector General It shows that the FBI didn’t try as hard to find other options before suing Apple, it just wanted to force the tech company to work for it.

In 2018, the Privacy-Focused Electronic Frontier Foundation commented:

“Since the onset of symptoms, we suspect that the FBI’s primary objective in trying to access iPhones found in December 2015 in San Bernardino is not just to unlock problem devices. But we believe the FBI’s intention in litigation is to acquire a legal precedent that can force Apple to sabotage its own security mechanisms. ”

If anything, new details on the case only confirm the idea that the federal government has more than enough tools to break into any device in the country it should choose. Of course, Azimuth’s existence proves that there is a booming market dedicated to selling access to the police. Giving governments extensive legal powers to force companies to steal their products appears to be the case. Lazy, Frankly, as long as they are the country’s top healthcare agency, we might expect the FBI to get the police to do the job themselves.

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