Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9to5Mac:
The FBI has decided it will not divulge the details of how it successfully hacked into the San Bernardino iPhone to Apple, having found a method at the last-minute just hours before going to court in late March. However, in an attempt to appear helpful and cooperative, the FBI gave Apple its first security tipoff under the Vulnerability Equities Process this month.
Reuters reports the FBI informed Apple of a security flaw affecting iOS and Mac software on April 14th, as part of a process that balances the needs of law enforcement to hack devices and the needs of manufacturers to patch found flaws before criminals can use them …
In this case, the disclosure was effectively useless as it related to older iOS and Mac software versions, with the issue already being patched in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. Apple says this is the first time FBI has given such information over to the company.
Reuters speculates the FBI gave its first ever security tip off to fend off critics who are frustrated that it will not disclose the details of the San Bernardino hack and is generally cooperative with policy and manufacturers about found vulnerabilities.
Apple says the flaw the FBI disclosed does not change the company’s perception that the White House Vulnerability Equities Process is less effective than has been claimed:
Lots of misfires and backfires lately by the FBI in this last bit of encryption battles, methinks.