Secretive Israeli Firm To Crack San Bernardino iPhone For The FBI?

Jayce Wagner - Author

Mar. 23 2016, Updated 9:05 a.m. ET

Earlier this week, the FBI stated that they may have found a way to crack the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone without aid from Apple, citing a mysterious “outside source.” Today, an Israeli newspaper confirmed that the outside source may be a well-known Israeli security firm known as Cellebrite.

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As the Inquisitr reported earlier, the FBI told a federal judge this week that a third party may have given the FBI a way into the San Bernardino iPhone and that the law enforcement agency would no longer require aid from tech-giant Apple. The hearing was called off at the last minute, and the case against Apple seems to be at rest. Many people within the tech and cyber security industries speculated on who the FBI’s third party could be, and today sources in the security industry suggest that Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite is likely behind the new method uncovered to crack the San Bernardino iPhone.

U.S. forensics experts have described Cellebrite as an international leader in data extraction, particularly in circumventing the security measures of common smartphones like the San Bernardino iPhone. The company’s website details its most popular product — a tool for analyzing cloud information used by mobile phones.

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The FBI has yet to confirm whether or not Cellebrite is involved in the San Bernardino case, or if they’ve succeeded in their attempts to crack the San Bernardino iPhone. Earlier this week, a spokesman for the FBI confirmed there were new developments in the case.

“Cellebrite mobile forensics solutions give access to and unlock the intelligence of mobile data sources to extend investigative capabilities, accelerate investigations, unify investigative teams and produce solid evidence,” reads the Cellebrite company page, describing their capabilities as a security firm.

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According to Reuters, Cellebrite has declined to comment on their involvement in unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, but anonymous sources close to Cellebrite have confirmed the company’s involvement to reporters for the Israeli newspaperYedioth Ahronoth.

The FBI sought an indefinite postponement to the FBI v. Apple hearing this week after confirming that a third party had demonstrated a promising method that could be used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone. However, it remains to be seen if the FBI will head back into the courtroom to try and compel Apple to develop a backdoor into the iPhone 6 and iOS 9, which together use some of the strongest encryption available to consumers.

The San Bernardino case, particularly the FBI’s very public fight with Apple over the encryption used by the San Bernardino iPhone, received a great deal of international attention from law enforcement communities abroad, who closely watched the case in hopes that it might set a precedent that would enable law enforcement to crack the powerful iPhone encryption algorithms.

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Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Apple’s legal counsel discussed the complications that the new developments in the San Bernardino case have introduced to their legal battle with the FBI. Speaking anonymously, the Apple attorney claimed that the company is relieved that they might not be compelled to develop a backdoor in order to circumvent the security on the San Bernardino iPhone and, by extension, every iPhone in the world. At the same time, if Cellebrite or another third party develops a way into the San Bernardino iPhone, it’s unlikely the U.S. Justice Department will share that information with Apple.

“Apple would ask the government to share what vulnerability it had recently discovered,” said the attorney, speaking with the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity.

The Apple attorney was skeptical that the Justice Department would share any such information with the tech giant after their public and acrimonious feud over the San Bernardino iPhone.

[Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images]


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