Well that didn't take long. Despite claiming for weeks that its efforts to break the encryption on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's work iPhone 5C was only about that one phone, now that government officials have obtained a method to access the stored data the FBI has issued an advisory to local law enforcement letting police around the country know that the government is happy to help them hack seized iPhones in their possession. So reports BuzzFeed, which notes that the letter offering up the secretive hacking method went out Friday.
"As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners," reads the letter signed by Kerry Sleeper, the Assistant Director in the Office of Partner Engagement at the FBI. "Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints. You have our commitment that we will maintain an open dialogue with you."
Sleeper then helpfully adds that the feds and local police "are in this together."
This, of course, stands in contrast to an editorial written by FBI Director James Comey this past February, in which he stated that the FBI "[doesn't] want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."
Apple, for its part, is still trying to figure out how the government got past the security features on the phone. The LA Times reports that it is believed the government disabled a feature preventing intruders from making tens of thousands of password guesses until the correct one was determined. The paper further notes that without getting details from the government on how it hacked the shooter's phone, Apple is left in the dark as to which of its phones are impacted — and consequently the company is hindered in its efforts to plug the potential hole in every other iPhone on the market.
In the meantime, expect FBI hacking techniques coming to a precinct near you.