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FBI director James Comey has confirmed that the US intelligence agency is not able to hack the iPhone 5s and newer using the same method as it did with the iPhone 5c belonging to the San Bernadino shooter. Comey told CNN the FBI purchased a tool that only worked on a “narrow slice of phones” which doesn’t include the newer models thanks to Apple’s Secure Enclave which revolutionized the way data is encrypted, stored and secured following the introduction of Touch ID – the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner – on the iPhone 5s in 2013.
The agency is still yet to reveal the method it used, though this lends further credence to the idea that the earlier iPhone’s auto-erase function could be bypassed, as previously highlighted by Edward Snowden. Of course, this would mean that due to this loophole being closed in later phones, Apple no longer has a loophole it needs to close. But as Comey told CNN: “We tell Apple, then they’re going to fix it, then we’re back where we started from.” Of course, there’s always the chance that this admittance could very well be intended to throw Apple off the scent in terms of loophole closure, leaving any loophole open for later use.