Federal agents have revealed that the FBI managed to unlock the San Bernardino attacker’s iPhone without Apple’s help, ending a lawsuit.
Apple opposed a court order last month requiring the company to write new software to allow employees to access Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone.
However, on March 28, officials announced that access to it was independent and demanded that the order be revoked.
Syed Rizwan Farouk and his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December.
They were later shot by police.
The FBI said it needed access to the phone’s data to determine if the attackers had worked with others, targeted others, and been supported by others.
According to officials, Sayed Rizwan Farouk’s wife, Tashfin Malik, pledged allegiance to ISIL on social media on the day of the shooting.
Last week, prosecutors said an “outsider” had demonstrated a possible way to unlock the iPhone without having to seek Apple’s help.
The hearing with Apple was adjourned at the request of the justice department while it investigates new ways to access the phone.
At the time, Apple said it did not know how to gain access and expressed hope that the government would share with them any vulnerabilities on the iPhone that could come to light.
On March 28, a statement from Eileen Decker, California’s top federal prosecutor, said investigators had received assistance from a “third party,” but did not specify who it was.
Investigators had a “solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting,” said Eileen Decker.
“It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement authorities can obtain crucial digital information for the protection of national security and public safety, either through cooperation from the parties concerned or through the judiciary when cooperation fails.” added the statement.
In response, Apple said: “From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s request that Apple install the back door in the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the dismissal of the government, none of them happened. This case should never have been filed. “
Apple said it “will continue to increase the security of our products as threats and attacks against our data become more frequent and sophisticated.”
An Israeli newspaper reported last week that forensic data experts from the Israeli-based cybersecurity company Cellebrite were involved in the case.
However, Cellebrite’s website states that one of its tools can extract and decode data from the iPhone 5C, the model in question, among other locked phones.
The ruling led to a vigorous privacy debate, with Apple receiving support from other technology giants, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
FBI Director James Comey said this was “the most difficult issue” he had dealt with in his work.
However, James Comey said law enforcement is saving lives, rescuing children and preventing terrorist attacks by using search warrants that give him access to information on mobile phones.