Trending Now

FBI plans not to disclose iPhone hack details to Apple


When the FBI bought a hacking tool to break into an iPhone, it wasn’t sure what exactly it got for its $1.3m.
On Wednesday, the FBI confirmed it wouldn’t tell Apple about the security flaw it exploited to break inside the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook in part, because the bureau says it didn’t buy the rights to the technical details of the hacking tool.
The FBI, which last month withdrew its court request and averted a hotly contested court ruling, paid more than $1 million to an unidentified third party to break into the phone.
The agency has not disclosed what it found on the phone, but has argued it was important for its investigation in a major national security case.
Some activists had argued that the FBI should disclose the method for breaking into the phone under a policy outlined by the US administration, known as the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, which allows for the patching of software and hardware weaknesses to protect against hackers.
But Hess said that "currently we do not have enough technical information about any vulnerability that would permit any meaningful review under the VEP process."
Apple and its backers had opposed the FBI's efforts to force the iPhone maker to weaken its operating system, claiming that would open doors for hackers and others.
Hess said the FBI normally "must maintain confidentiality" about its actions on vulnerabilities but that it chose to make the matter public due to "the extraordinary nature of this particular case, the intense public interest in it, and the fact that the FBI already has disclosed publicly the existence of the method."