Apple had been hoping that the FBI would come clean about how it managed to gain access to the San Bernardino iPhone, but that's just not going to happen. The agency managed to crack the iPhone 5C at the centre of the case after getting help from a third party rather than Apple.
But now the FBI has confirmed that it doesn't really know how the cracking tool works. Or, more precisely, it did not buy the rights to the technical details of the tool. After a very public battle with Apple, the FBI ultimately resorted to getting help from elsewhere, and there had been fears that the method would be classified - now it seems it will remain secret simply because the FBI doesn't understand the tool it used.
Very little is known about exactly how the agency finally managed to gain access to the iPhone. Director James Comey revealed that cracking the phone cost at least $1.34 million, but it is still not known who helped the FBI. What is known is that the tool will only work on iPhone 5Cs, and Apple and its customers had been waiting for details to emerge to allow any exploited security flaws to be patched.
There have been calls for the FBI to submit the cracking tool to a review board to determine whether the method should be kept secret or not.
The agency's executive assistant director for science and technology, Amy Hess, said: "Currently we do not have enough technical information about any vulnerability that would permit any meaningful review."
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