A third-party has apparently demonstrated a method that may help FBI to hack into the iPhone without Apple’s intervention in this issue. The FBI claims that it needs to test the process on other devices as they don’t want to damage critical data on Farook’s iPhone. To that end, the FBI was granted a two week extension.
iOS will throw away the encryption keys after 10 failed attempts at the passcode, locking the data away for good. The FBI however, expects to get unlimited attempts at figuring out the pass-code.
Forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski has said that a process called NAND Mirroring is quite possible to be at the forefront. “Most of the tech experts I’ve heard from believe the same as I do – that NAND mirroring is likely being used to some degree to brute force the pin on the device. This is where the NAND chip is typically desoldered, the data extracted (likely by a chip reader/programmer, which is like a cd burner for chips), and then copied so that if the device begins to wipe or delay after five or ten tries, they can just write the original image back to the chip, [and start over]” he points out.
There is also the possibility of inducing a software flaw that will be severe enough to give access to the device’s core. However, experts believe that to be impossible. “The flaw would have to be severe to let investigators all the way into the phone’s core and tell it to open. The biggest problem with this theory is that security researchers are constantly on the hunt for these sorts of flaws. If flaws exist, we’d probably know about them,” writes Cnet.