Is the FBI reading the Internet for help decrypting iPhones?


An iPhone contains non volatile memory. Any data stored is encrypted using an encryption key.

On Feb 8th 2016, we presented methods that could be used (given a super computer and unlimited time) to decrypt iPhone data. Perhaps, the FBI and Federal DA have been reading Internet posts (from many technical experts) stating the only method known is a “Brute Force” attack which basically is the process of attempting to unlock the encrypted data by trying every key combination. This process could take mins or years to find the right key(s) to an AES encryption. Still, with the help of a few US Federal Super Computers the process will take less time then Apple would require.

An example high level decryption process -
1) Copy the iPhone's encrypted data
2) Try using decryption key
3) Test if any data has been decrypted
4) If yes, end the process
5) If no, increment the decryption key (key++) and go to step #2

As you can see, none of these steps requires Apple to be involved. It also doesn’t require Apple to write any code. With the technical information that Apple provided at the start of the Federal investigation, prior to any court orders, and available within Apples public manuals; the FBI can execute a “Brute Force” attack on any iPhone to decrypt data.

Could it be the technical blog posts on this topic have helped the FBI and Federal DA’s office locate the right resources within the federal government?

The court case against Apple has been placed on hold. A Brute Force attack has been started by the Federal Government. I’m sure it’s not easy finding and securing the necessary technical resources in the Federal Government given the number of people and departments. Thank God, the FBI field offices and DA’s offices now have the necessary Federal departments on speed dial.

Isn’t this preferred to media debates, public outcry, court orders, expensive legal battles that made the FBI and DA appear to some as uneducated and outdated? Attempting to use public fear to erode Americans privacy and freedoms in a naive attempt to live in the past?

Shouldn’t the FBI be prepared for advancements in computer science? Able to investigate criminals using technology without help from private firms? Without eroding Americans freedoms? Difficult? Yes, without question. Still, FBI management has the role and responsibility to staff necessary Federal employees!

Shouldn’t the FBI hire the best and brightest engineers? How does a company hire the best and brightest engineers to work long hours, on very hard, difficult problems? The best engineers live to find solutions to (near) impossible problems. Look in the right places, Ask for help, provide multiple caffeine sources, wonderful equipment, the right environment, and listen carefully.

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