How the FBI Finally Got Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

Opt-in to Cyber Safety. Multiple layers of protection for your devices, online privacy and more.

As the Biden administration moves on an ever-growing list of policy initiatives, the White House issued sanctions this week for a slate of Russian misdeeds, including interference in the 2020 election, the poisoning of dissident Aleksey Navalny, and the SolarWinds hacking spree that swept United States government agencies and many private-sector companies. The retaliatory move is complicated when it comes to SolarWinds, though, because it comprised the sort of espionage operation that would typically fall within geopolitical norms. 

Elsewhere in the US government, the Justice Department took a drastic step this week to halt a Chinese hacking spree by authorizing the FBI to obtain a warrant and then directly delete attackers’ hacking infrastructure from hundreds of victims’ internal systems. Many in the security community lauded the effort, but the move also stoked some controversy given the precedent it could set for future US government actions that might be more invasive.

Over in the fraught world of internet-of-things security, researchers published findings on Tuesday that more than 100 million embedded devices and IT management servers are potentially vulnerable to attack, because of flaws in fundamental networking protocols. The devices are made by numerous vendors and used in environments from regular offices to health care and critical infrastructure, potentially exposing those networks to attack.

If you’re trying to lock your accounts down and reduce your reliance on passwords, we have a guide to alternatives that’ll walk you through on a number of platforms. And if you’re feeling a general sense of existential dread about all manner of threats, you’re not alone—the US Intelligence Community seems to be feeling the same way.

And there’s more. Each week we round up all the news WIRED didn’t cover in depth. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

In 2016 the US government famously tried to compel Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The case could have set a precedent that the government could demand that tech companies undermine the security protections in their products or insert “backdoors.” (Several…