The FBI is reportedly working with an Israeli forensics firm to crack the San Bernardino iPhone

The FBI is reportedly working with an Israeli forensics firm to crack the San Bernardino iPhone
Credit: Cellebrite

Earlier this week, the FBI filed a motion (PDF) to delay its hearing in the San Bernardino iPhone case that was scheduled for Tuesday. The court approved the order, which mentioned that an ‘outside party’ had offered to assist in unlocking the device.

According to Reuters, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has today reported that mobile forensics firm Cellebrite is helping the FBI with its investigation.

Apple has been resisting the agency’s demand for it to create a backdoored version of iOS. If the Israeli company is indeed working with the FBI and can crack the device, Apple’s help will no longer be necessary.

Can Cellebrite break into the iPhone? The company says its UFED series of data extraction devices can pull the contents from thousands of different models of smartphones and is being used by law enforcement agencies in nearly 100 countries.

Leeor Ben-Peretz, vice president of the company’s forensics division, told Israeli news site Haaretz that the UFED is capable of unlocking Samsung’s Galaxy S7, which isn’t even on the market yet.

Cellebrite claims it can unlock devices running iOS 8 without any hardware intervention and without the risk of an accidental data wipe. The tricky bit is that the iPhone 5C recovered in the San Bernardino case runs iOS 9.

Cellebrite declined to comment on the matter, but indicated to Haaretz that it believes that no device is hack-proof.

If that’s the case, Apple’s reputation as a company capable of developing truly secure software is on the line.

➀ Israeli firm helping FBI to open encrypted iPhone: report [Reuters]

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