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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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.

We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.

2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^

8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.

14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.


17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.

18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”

23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

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Dear Past Self, You're Fine

I think it's time we learned a few very important things


Dear Past Self,

I think it's time we learned a few very important things.

It's time we learned that plans don't always follow the way you want them to.

It's time we learned that friendships end sometimes for no reason, and I think it's time we learn that better things are on the way for us both.

As of right now, you're thinking of attending a big Ivy League college for some reason, however that won't be the case for us in the future. You're going to attend a University that's going to be beautiful to you even after you've attended for three years.

I'm sure you still want to pursue a career in culinary just like your dad, but later on you're going to learn to love completely different things, and despite what others say, that's okay.

It's okay to drift away from what you once thought you wanted to do. It's okay to love different things and to want to study them instead, and despite what your family says, you're not a failure or a mess: you're a smart person who has a very bright future ahead.

You're okay.

Friendships unfortunately end in ways that aren't understandable, even to this day, and that's okay. It's okay to feel sad and heartbroken over a friendship that didn't last as long as you thought it would. Sometimes it's better that way.

However, it's because of those broken friendships that you learned new things about yourself that make all the pain worthwhile, and it's that new knowledge that gives you the wonderful chance to meet people who you now consider family.

You're okay.

Confusion, pain and anxiety are all things that you're going to go through in life, no matter what.

Confusion over what you want to study and what you want to achieve in life, pain over heartbreaks and hardships that you'll have and anxiety because things just never go according to plan despite our best intentions.

Regardless of all of that though, you'll be okay.

Even now, as an adult, I still struggle with a few of these things; however, it's important to understand that, as a child, the world doesn't rest on your shoulders. You're not supposed to know what you want to do ten years from now or what college you want to attend.

For the moment, focus on having fun and understand that being different isn't bad.

Above all, though, always stay humble and kind.

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Kinga Cichewicz

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