Matt Dean, Fox News
It is unlikely that the government will disclose to Apple the third party method used to unlock the iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to law enforcement sources close to the matter.
These sources tell Fox that the FBI is drafting a letter to the White House recommending that it not pursue an interagency review of whether or not to share this method with Apple due to the fact that the agency knows little about the intricacies behind the tool or the actual vulnerability that was exploited.
What FBI purchased from the undisclosed third party, according to these sources, was essentially a tailored tool that successfully exploited a vulnerability in the iOS 9 operating system running on an iPhone 5C. Fox is told that the agency does not know the source code behind that hacking tool or the specific vulnerability that was exploited, therefore making it unnecessary to share that tool with Apple.
Fox is told that the technical details behind this tool remain with the third party.
Fox News reported back on April 7, citing intelligence sources, that to unlock the device that belonged to Farook, FBI essentially purchased a "zero day" from the undisclosed third party. A "Zero Day" is a previously unknown vulnerability to a specific piece of computer software that cyber actors exploit to gain access to a system or override certain functionalities.
Zero Days serve as the preeminent method of entry for hackers given that their targets can't protect against flaws they don't know exist, according to cybersecurity exerts.
Speaking at Georgetown University this morning, FBI Director James Comey said his agency was in the midst of determining whether it would disclose details of the third party method to Apple.
Comey said last week in London that FBI paid a non-governmental third party over $1 million dollars for the hacking tool.