How Did The FBI Crack The iPhone's Code?

How Did The FBI Crack The iPhone's Code?

The FBI paid $1.3 million for this hack, but one associate researcher cracks the code with less than $100.

Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hacked the iPhone from the San Bernardino shooting, several security specialists have weighed in with their hack suggestions. According to The Daily Dot, as revealed by a Las Vegas computer security conference survey, 52 percent of cyber-security experts confirmed that they would be willing to help the FBI for paycheck of $1 million to $50 million and beyond. Contrarily so, one out of every four respondents also agreed with Apple's refusal to comply with the FBI's request.

However, as it turns out, the FBI paid the the third-party hacker $1.3 million for cracking a code that University of Cambridge's associate researcher Dr. Sergi Skorobogatov can solve with less than $100 using NAND mirroring.

So, how does NAND mirroring work?

First, Skorobogatov removed the NAND chip from the iPhone 5C, which is a tense process on its own. Then, he cracked the memory system's communication routes in order to clone the chips that would allow him to try out as many passcodes as possible, reported BBC.

As Vice News explains, it takes 90 seconds to complete each set of six guesses, which totals to 10,000 combinations tested over a period of 41 hours. Cracking a four-digit code results in around 40 hours of work, but finding a six-digit code may take hundreds of hours.

"The process does not require any expensive and sophisticated equipment. All needed parts are low cost and were obtained from local electronics distributors," Skorobogatov said in his paper and explained in his YouTube video.

The NAND mirroring method can successfully crack passcodes of older iPhones up to the iPhone 6, but with the use of advanced hardware, Skorobogatov believes the same method may work for the iPhone 6s and even the brand new iPhone 7.

In April, the FBI claimed they were unaware of any alternative methods to cracking the iPhone, but by March, they had dropped their lawsuit against Apple. Three major news networks responded by collectively suing the FBI for hacking details. Hopefully this can explore the broader, more serious issues at hand, like what this means for Apple's security features – specifically, the encryption of user data.

The debut of the iPhone 7 intitially raised a chorus of complaints at the lack of a headphones jack, but as users have come to realize, this makes the iPhone 7 all but impossible to physically hack. To strengthen their virtual frontier as well, Apple incorporated the hyper-encrypted iOS 10. The FBI's iPhone 5 passcode crack provoked Apple to take drastic measures in ensuring their customers a guarantee of privacy. If people no longer trust Apple's security system, they would be highly unlikely to use Apple's new services, such as the iCloud Keychain, which stores user passwords and credit card information into the smartphone, comments The Sacramento Bee.

To reinstate their credibility as a lauded tech company, Apple security expert Ivan Krstic presented a primer of iOS 10's features at the BlackHat USA hacker conference in Las Vegas. Craig Federighi, a senior vice president of software engineering, also assured fellow developers that Apple "is committed to the highest level of encryption."

But this still leaves the main question up in the air: when and where will Congress draw the line between the FBI's national security concerns and Apple's privacy rights?

Cover Image Credit: Cool Mom Tech

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The Downfall Of Technology As Told By Black Mirror

"Before this obsession, when we had conversations, remember?"

Technology. Technology surrounds us daily as we interact with friends, co-workers, family members, etc. Through the access of phone calls, FaceTime, Skype video calls and social media. While the recent updates to technology over the last decade have improved drastically, the effects technology leaves on millennials today has become overwhelming.

Netflix series "Black Mirror" has taken over and become a hit show. I was first shown an episode of "Black Mirror" in my Expository Writing class as a gateway to our technology unit. The series' first episode of the third season is exceptionally written. 'Nosedive' delivers the obsession society faces with technology, and the unpleasing effects.

1. Characters in the episode are always holding their phones.

Main character, Lacie Pound, is introduced in the opening scene of the episode as she goes for a morning run while looking at her phone. Nowadays, teens are glued to their electronics. I am guilty of this myself, however, I am working on minimizing my time on my phone and using social media.

Throughout this episode, it is important to note how many times the characters utilize their phones. After watching this episode several times, I reminded myself of how many times I would look at my phone in an hour, so I could minimize how much I spend time looking on apps and social media.

2. Everything is done over the phone

Between Lacie taking pictures of her everyday activities to catching up with old friend Naomi, Lacie's phone is attached at her hip, meaning she never goes anywhere without it and does everything with it. Conversation has become almost extinct whereas "rating" each other has become the new normal. After a conversation with someone or receiving a service of any kind, Lacie along with other characters rate each other. This rating could potentially raise the average number or drop based on confrontation.

I've noticed this more and more as I was in high school. Students were on their phones so much It had gotten to the point where teachers needed to apply a "phone jail" to their class rules. Students used their phones for everything during a school day, from school work, pleasure, etc. which I find rather unsettling.

3. High ratings correlate to high self-esteem

After several conversations with various people, Lacie's rating continues to increase, therefore allowing her confidence to become apparent. Much like today's use of social media, the more 'likes' and 'followers' we have, the more popular and likable we are, which is a false and disturbing misconception.

4. Low ratings = limited to no privileges

If the character's ratings continue to decline, it becomes difficult for them to purchase houses, find sponsorship, etc. Ultimately, the show depicts a high standard for its people and if the characters don't live up to that standard, privileges are slowly taken away. In my opinion this is cruel, but accurately paints a picture of how millennials act towards their profiles on social media.

5. Social media takes over your life

Time after time Lacie's average rate dropped so low that the fight to bring it back up was impossible. She cared so much of how others viewed her that she tried too hard and wound up bringing her rate down significantly with every penalty faced. It had gotten so low to the point she became mentally insane, threatening people with knives who did not rate her a good score.

While I myself use social media for fun, I do not let the amount of 'likes,' 'followers,' or 'comments' define who I am as a person. I believe all millennials should take this into consideration and not rely on social media for confidence.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Reasons Why Us Millennials Wouldn't Survive 5 Minutes Without Google, If Even That

I probably wouldn't have passed 8th grade.

Its the year 2018. We have Siri to tell us basic math problems, Alexa the dot to play music for us or give a weather recap, and any other "problems" that arise in our everyday lives, we simply just turn to Google. Back in the dinosaur age, before there were cell phones, Google, and crazy technology, people will tell you life was much simpler, well I disagree. I'd like to think life was just plain, boring!

We have become so accustomed to a life with Google, I have compiled a list of 5 reasons why I don't think I would even make it through a day without it — and that is scary and amazing all in itself.

1. We wouldn't know how to go anywhere

A paper map? What is that? Just use Google Maps, I can put in any address and get real-time traffic, how many minutes it will take me to get there, even the mileage is all calculated out. If a paper map was my only option I would struggle to even figure out what direction North was.

2. Homework would be impossible

Personally, I need a YouTube video, Quizlet, and an example problem just to figure out how to do my math homework. I probably would not have made it passed the 8th grade if it wasn't for Google's homework help.

3. Encyclopedia who?

Writing a paper, or inquiring any fact really would involve taking a trip to the library, finding the book needed, flipping to the page, etc. You get it, it would be an incredibly lengthy process just to find out a simple fact that Google can tell you in seconds.

4. Events and activities would be pretty much nonexistent

Have you been to a concert, ran a 5K, enjoyed a dinner special, or gone to a farmers market lately? Technology was most likely the way you found out about the event. It was shared, tweeted, texted, or you searched about it! In other words, we would have no life if it wasn't for Google.

5. We wouldn't know that people are eating Tide Pods

Okay so maybe this isn't the most important news headline... but my point is, news and trends would not be available in the ways they are now, and it would take much longer to get to us. The news could even be outdated or irrelevant if it is not delivered in time, gasp!!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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