Topic: Health & MedicinePublic Health

Last updated: April 16, 2019

The San Bernardino Shooting took place on December 2, 2015, killing 14 people, and seriously injuring 22 others. The United States government classified this catastrophe as a terrorist attack making it the deadliest mass shooting and bombing since the 2001 twin tower bombing, and the Sandy Hook mass shooting. The terror attack consisted of a mass shooting, and an attempted bombing at the Inland Regional Center, a community center dedicated to service of the disabled and in need. The culprits were married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik who live in Redlands and targeted a Department of Public Health Christmas event. The Christmas party had around 80 employees expected to in attendance. Syed Rizwan Farook was a United States citizen who worked as an employee of the health department while Tashfeen Malik, his wife, was born in Pakistan and was permitted lawful residence in the United States. Farook arrived at the event at around 8:30 in the morning and left midway through after a technical mishap gave him the opportunity to slip away and come back with weapons and explosives at around 10:30 in the morning. Once Farook reentered shortly after he opened fire on those in attendance followed by his wife Malik. After the shooting the couple fled in an SUV and hours later police had caught up to them pursuing and eventually after an intense shootout, killing them leaving 2 policemen injured. The FBI categorized them as “homegrown violent extremists” inspired by terrorist groups. It was later determined that they were not directed by any groups in particular nor were they a part of any terrorist organizations. Investigators said that they had become indoctrinated over the span of several years and has expressed a commitment to Jihadism. Years prior to the attack they had both traveled to the Middle East to amass a large stockpile of weapons and ammunition as well as bomb-making equipment and had their neighbor purchase firearms domestically as well.
On February 9th, 2016 the FBI announced that they had come in possession of an iPhone 5c belonging to Syed and asked the NSA to break into the device. Shortly after the NSA failed to break into the device as the police department who had been in possession of the device prior tripped the 10 try passcode verification process that’s in the security system of iOS devices on accident when trying to access the device. The FBI had little options and asked Apple to create a new iOS operating system so that they could remotely upload and disable the security system in place giving them access to the device. Apple refused to give them what they had asked stating that “We objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent.” (Apple, 2016) Apple CEO Tim Cook also stated ” The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals, … such a move would be an “unprecedented step,” threatening the security of Apple’s customer.” (Cook, 2016) Apple believed that in creating a master key for the government to use in cracking Farrok’s iPhone could get into the wrong hands and potentially put millions of people at risk. After Apple refused to provide anymore help to the FBI’s efforts to crack the device, they attempted to force Apple to comply using the All Writs Act of 1789, which in essence gives federal judges the power to issue orders to compel people to do things within the limits of the law. Apple again opposes the request, citing that once the backdoor was created it could be used on all iOS devices. Sometime after the FBI goes quiet and later announced that it had unlocked the iPhone and withdrew its suit. Initial reports stated that Israeli company Cellebrite was assisting the FBI with this alternative. However, The Washington Post broke that “the FBI instead paid hackers who used a zero-day vulnerability in the iPhone’s software to bypass its ten-try limitation.” (Washington Post, 2016) In the end of this whole debacle nothing was found on the iPhone in the end.


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