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226 votes

Why can't the FBI read the key embedded in the iPhone's secure chip/ROM directly from hardware (silicon)?

Yes, it is possible. However, that runs the risk of destroying the device without getting the data off first, which is undesirable. It also does not achieve the political goals of forcing Apple to ...
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103 votes
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Should I be concerned about strange, new iPhone app appearing after repair?

Unless you can come up with some other explanation of how this happend, it sounds like your phone has been infected by some malware. It's impossible for us to say if the infection was the result of ...
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  • 64.2k
94 votes

Why can't the FBI read the key embedded in the iPhone's secure chip/ROM directly from hardware (silicon)?

What makes you think that they haven't already? This case is about setting a precedent to obtain access whenever the government desires. They chose this case because America's fear of terrorism will ...
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  • 1,773
88 votes
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Can phone apps read my clipboard?

Android Prior to Android 10 any app could freely register listeners to receive the clipboard contents whenever they changed. As of Android 10, only the current app with focus and any app set as the ...
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  • 4,428
82 votes
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Why is iPhone's internal storage so hard to crack/decrypt?

I don't think that you interpret the rule you've heard in the right way. If an attacker has physical access to an encrypted but switched off device he cannot simply break the encryption provided that ...
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78 votes

Why can't the FBI read the key embedded in the iPhone's secure chip/ROM directly from hardware (silicon)?

It doesn't scale While the general consensus is that such technology exists and would be available to FBI, it's not an appropriate general solution because it might be applicable to this case but (...
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  • 8,370
71 votes
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How to securely dispose of a smartphone?

Unless you have secrets on that phone that someone would pay a lot of money to uncover, you don't need to go overboard. A factory reset would work just fine. To decrease the chances someone would ...
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  • 50.3k
65 votes

"This used to be my phone number"

It's a known scam attempt. The caller probably compromised one of your accounts, and got stopped by the 2FA token sent to your phone. If you send them the token, your account is fully compromised. Or, ...
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  • 50.3k
64 votes
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Is there any hope of getting my pictures back after an iPhone factory reset some day in the future?

Modern encryption is strong enough that there is no way to retrieve the lost data without the key. Although it's possible that it could be doable in the future in theory, consider that even the cipher ...
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  • 63.8k
49 votes

How to securely dispose of a smartphone?

Under the assumption that you have a somewhat recent phone (Android 6+ installed from factory, I don't know for Apple but read something about from iPhone 6 on): Wipe the phone/do a factory reset (...
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  • 5,903
45 votes
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Why do web sites show my iPhone using different IP addresses for HTTP and HTTPS (cellular only)?

I am just going to take a guess here. Your telephone data carrier may have an optimizing or caching proxy for content whose IP address appears in your JSON result. As the proxy has no visibility ...
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41 votes
Accepted

Why does an iphone require me to enter the passcode and not accept my fingerprints when I switch it on after power off?

Since iOS 8, full disk encryption is enabled by default and the passcode is used as key (paired with some secret kept in the phone's HSM so offline bruteforcing is not possible, making it relatively ...
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  • 12.7k
31 votes

Should I be concerned about strange, new iPhone app appearing after repair?

I would be very concerned. One thing I have learnt about security, in all the years I have been trying to understand it, is that if you didn't put something there, somebody else did, and if you don't ...
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  • 419
31 votes

Is there any hope of getting my pictures back after an iPhone factory reset some day in the future?

Every time I updated my iPhone with iTunes, iTunes automatically made a backup of the iPhone. These backups can be checked in: iTunes >> Edit Menu >> Preference >> Devices >> ...
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28 votes
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How did FBI/DoJ retrieve the data stored on the encrypted iPhone?

[Update #2] According to the Washington Post, sources familiar with the matter, have stated that the initially suspected collaboration with Cellebrite is not how the data from the encrypted iPhone ...
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25 votes
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Bring your own phone to a (new) job: Consequences?

Just wanted to chime in and say that the list you have there isn't entirely 100% accurate, but it is close. Keep in mind that this will vary per MDM vendor and mobile OS, but MobileIron can see your ...
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  • 3,923
25 votes

Why is iPhone's internal storage so hard to crack/decrypt?

The rule you are referring to goes back to Scott Culp and is from this essay he wrote in 2000: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc722487.aspx In 2000, there was no such thing as an iPhone. ...
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  • 10k
22 votes
Accepted

Snowden: "The NSA can remotely turn on your iPhone."

There is a semantics issue at play here that make answering definitively very difficult. What precisely did Mr. Snowden talk about when he said "Yes they can turn your phone on." Did he mean ...
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22 votes

Why does an iphone require me to enter the passcode and not accept my fingerprints when I switch it on after power off?

@AndréBorie gives the correct technical reason why a passcode is required for full disk encryption. I want to dispel the myth that fingerprint is more secure than passcode. This is a dangerous - yet ...
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22 votes

Should I be concerned about strange, new iPhone app appearing after repair?

Yes, and be concerned about more than your phone. I can’t imagine a situation where an app was installed without your pin/password. without them first jail-breaking or otherwise significantly ...
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  • 401
20 votes

Why can't the FBI read the key embedded in the iPhone's secure chip/ROM directly from hardware (silicon)?

You are assuming the problem is technical. It might be political / legal. Let's assume the government already has the technical capability of extracting this information from phones, without Apple ...
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  • 587
16 votes

How to securely dispose of a smartphone?

Under the assumption you do not trade state secrets I would: Wipe the phone/do a factory reset (assuming the phone is still working) Remove the SD Card (keep it for later use) (does not apply to the ...
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  • 3,476
13 votes

Bring your own phone to a (new) job: Consequences?

My company is currently going through the process of implementing an MDM for all work phones... So perhaps something that I can help with. The company will install profiles and policies onto the ...
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12 votes

How did my network admin identify my iPhone and how can I hide my ID?

There's any number of ways that your company's network administrator may have identified you. The principal thing you need to realize is that, while you may be using your own device, you are on your ...
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  • 27k
12 votes

How to block a cloned SIM card?

A mobile phone, generally speaking (*), is broadcasting the message "the SIM card I have with the ID XXXX is now available on the network". This ID is called IMEI IMSI (**) and is unique to a SIM card....
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  • 8,925
11 votes
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Did I stumble upon a cell hidden network or is my device being attacked?

I strongly suspect those four characters are an "A", a "T", an "&" (the Sun symbol) and a "T" again. Possibly the UTF8 for 4F10, 5418, E298BC and 5418. Actually, as @Matt observed, the little-...
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  • 22.5k
11 votes

Should I be concerned about strange, new iPhone app appearing after repair?

The most concerning point is that the repair shop employee claims not to know anything about it. The app may or may not be okay. If someone in the repair shop installs a new app, i.e. for testing if ...
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  • 3,108
10 votes
Accepted

How can the NSA remotely turn on your iPhone?

You make some wrong assumptions : "how can it be remotely turned on if no software is running and network communications aren't even activated until the device boots". There are two computers in your ...
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  • 4,653
10 votes

How did my network admin identify my iPhone and how can I hide my ID?

iPhones default to "Chuck's iPhone" as their network name. You change that by changing your device's name. Same with any iOS device.
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  • 123k
10 votes

Is it possible for someone to see under the "blacked out" part of this image (see below)?

PNG is a bitmap format, thus "blackening out" is a destructive method: what was in the original picture before it was replaced by black pixels is no more in the blackened picture. You can use any ...
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