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FBI tips off Apple to security flaw -- a first under sharing process

For the first time under a White House process created in 2014, the agency shares information about a flaw in an Apple product, the company tells Reuters.

James Martin/CNET

The FBI has shared a software security flaw with Apple, but it's not likely to be the one everyone wants to know about.

The federal law enforcement agency tipped off Apple to a vulnerability in its iPhone and Mac software on April 14, the company told Reuters on Tuesday. It was the first time the FBI had informed the tech titan of a flaw in an Apple product under the Vulnerability Equities Process, a White House process created in 2014 for reviewing technology flaws and determining which ones should be made public, Reuters reported.

Apple told Reuters that the security flaw, which affected older versions of iOS and OS X, was fixed nine months ago, with the release of iOS9 for phones and Mac OS X El Capitan. No technical details of the flaw were released.

Representatives for Apple and the FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Word of the flaw tip came the same day that FBI Director James Comey suggested that disclosing how it hacked the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook might not be necessary.