FBI Uses Zero-Day iOS Flaw to Access Terrorists iPhone Data

Today's topics include the FBI's use of an iOS Zero-Day exploit to hack the iPhone used by the shooter in a California mass murder, Apple's efforts to fix an iOS 9 flaw that's crashing apps, Microsoft's apology for the Tay chatbot's offensive Twitter rants and the long-delayed delivery of the Surface Hub digital whiteboard computer.

A new zero-day exploit against Apple's iOS mobile operating system enables an attacker to bypass a security lockout feature that will erase the device's contents after 10 unsuccessful passcode tries.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking credit for using this exploit to get access to the contents of an iPhone 5c used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman in the Dec. 2 killing of 14 county employees in San Bernardino, Calif.

The U.S. Justice Department had sought a court order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in defeating the phone's security measure to gain access to the data it contained. Once it gained access to the phone, the FBI ended its legal case again Apple.

Apple has acknowledged a flaw in the latest update to its iOS 9 mobile operating system that is causing applications to hang-up and operating system crashes when users try to access Web links.

Reports indicate that multiple versions of iOS 9 are affected by the problem, including the latest 9.3 version and earlier editions of the OS, according to a March 29 story by 9to5Mac.

Apple has issued a statement about the flaw after reports of it began circulating and it acknowledged that code repairs are under way.

Microsoft issued a public apology after its latest foray into artificial intelligence took an unfortunate turn. Last week, the company was forced to shut down its chatbot Tay, which used machine learning technology to mimic a young, good-natured American Millennial woman—after it began spouting offensive tweets.

A Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK that Tay's bad behavior was the result "of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay's commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways," in an email statement.

The Surface Hub digital whiteboard computer, originally slated to ship last September and later missing its January 2016 release deadline, is finally being delivered to Microsoft's business customers, according to Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft Devices Marketing.

The touch-enabled Windows 10-powered device, available in a 55-inch and a massive 84-inch model, features built-in cameras, a microphone array, Bluetooth, WiFi, motion sensors and near-field communications. It's designed mainly for work team collaboration and video conferencing.

Top White Papers and Webcasts