FBI accesses Signal data while exploiting iPhone flaw


In recent months, Signal has established itself as one of the safest messengers. However, an iPhone flaw allowed the FBI to have access to the app’s metadata even with the device’s screen locked.

The information was found by Forbes in a lawsuit about an arms trafficking operation in 2020. The bureau document features snippets of conversations and even screenshots of the app.

According to Forbes, the FBI decrypted the iPhone and collected the information by taking advantage of the device’s “partial AFU” mode. This occurs when the phone has the screen locked, but is not turned off.

The cell phone is susceptible to extracting internal data in this condition, since the encryption keys are stored in memory. Thus, exploiting a flaw in the operating system or using physical means, it is possible to have access to private data.

The document shows that the FBI accessed Signal messages on a second generation iPhone 11 or iPhone SE. Furthermore, there is no data on which version of the application was installed on the device.

There is no information if this “loophole” is present in the iPhone 12. However, the latest versions of iOS have a better security structure than the old devices of the brand.


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