Australian cybersecurity firm unlocked iPhone for FBI after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, report says

The FBI was able to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters in 2015 thanks to the help of an Australian cybersecurity company, a new report says. Azimuth Security, a small infosec company based in Sydney, came up with the hacking solution for the FBI, The Washington Post reported Wednesday citing unnamed sources.

It took two Azimuth hackers to break into the iPhone, according to the report.

The FBI revealed in March 2016 that it was able to access the data off the iPhone 5C used by one of the two San Bernardino shooters with the help of a third party. Apple had refused to write software that would unlock the phone, arguing it would weaken the encryption for all other iPhone users.

The FBI spent over $1.3 million hacking into that iPhone, former FBI Director James Comey said in April 2016.

Three news organizations sued the FBI in late 2016 for information on how it hacked into the iPhone, with the agency releasing 100 pages of heavily redacted documents in January 2017 in response. Those documents censored who the FBI hired to break into the phone.

Last year, the FBI again criticized Apple for slowing down a national security investigation by refusing to help unlock two iPhones used by a shooter in an attack on Dec. 6, 2019 at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida that left three people dead.

Apple, Azimuth and the FBI didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. You can read The Washington Post's full story here.