The FBI has a bad history of making deals with criminals - even the MAFIA - when it suits them. Since the Garden of Eden when the devil tempted Eve to take a bite of the apple, it's been assumed you could expect a bad result in making a deal with the devil. One would think the FBI would learn its lesson, given the Whitey Bulger fiasco. And yet we learn the FBI is dealing with hackers to bite Apple in the exploitation of a security flaw of its Iphone. The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist's phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter. And it wasn't cheap: Director James Comey today gave some hints on how much the agency paid to access the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, suggesting a sum upwards of $1.3 million. According to Reuters, Comey said the FBI paid an amount exceeding what he will make in the next seven years and four months as director of the FBI.
The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone's four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said.
The people who helped the U.S. government come from the sometimes shadowy world of hackers and security researchers who profit from finding flaws in companies' software or systems.
Security and privacy experts have been calling on the government to disclose the vulnerability data to Apple so that the firm can patch it.
Who is the FBI - the US government - protecting? Not you.
If the government shares data on the flaws with Apple, "they're going to fix it and then we're back where we started from," FBI Diretor Comey said in a discussion at a privacy conference last week. Nonetheless, he said Monday in Miami, "we're considering whether to make that disclosure or not."
The White House has established a process in which federal officials weigh whether to disclose any security vulnerabilities they find. It could be weeks before the FBI's case is reviewed, officials said.
"When we discover these vulnerabilities, there's a very strong bias towards disclosure," White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel said in an interview in October 2014, speaking generally and not about the Apple case. "That's for a good reason. If you had to pick the economy and the government that is most dependent on a digital infrastructure, that would be the United States."
But, he added, "we do have an intelligence and national security mission that we have to carry out. That is a factor that we weigh in making our decisions."
The decision-makers, which include senior officials from the Justice Department, FBI, National Security Agency, CIA, State Department and Department of Homeland Security, consider how widely used the software in question is. They also look at the utility of the flaw that has been discovered. Can it be used to track members of a terrorist group, to prevent a cyberattack, to identify a nuclear weapons proliferator? Is there another way to obtain the information?
In the case of the phone used by the San Bernardino terrorist, "you could make the justification on both national security and on law enforcement grounds because of the potential use by terrorists and other national security concerns," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.
So the bad guys know how to hack your Iphone and your government won't protect you. Says it's FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE.
The Devil you say.