Last month, the FBI revealed that it’d successfully gotten into the iPhone 5c that it had previously ordered Apple help it break into. The government didn’t say much about how it got into the phone at the time, but today it shed a bit more light on the matter.
Speaking at Kenyon College yesterday, FBI Director James Comey said that the FBI paid for the tech that it used to break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c, but he didn’t reveal exactly who provided the tech. Comey also said that the FBI is still considering whether or not it’ll tell Apple how it got into the phone. It’s an interesting conversation because, we tell Apple, they fix it and then we’re back where we started from,” Comey explained.
The FBI Director also said that the government is “pretty confident” that the tech they used to get into the iPhone 5c only works on the 5c, not on newer models like the 5s and beyond. “We have a tool that works on a narrow slice of phones,” Comey said.
While the tool may only work on iPhone 5c models, it’s no surprise that the FBI is thinking about keeping its tech to itself. Just because the 5c is several years old doesn’t change the fact that a lot of folks are still using them, and if Apple learns about the tech and blocks it from working, that means that law enforcement can no longer use that tool to help any investigations involving iPhone 5c-using criminals. For now, folks using the iPhone 5s and later models know that their phones are still secure, and we’ll like see Apple continue to try and beef up its security on future iPhone hardware.