Israeli Forensic Firm Cellebrite Said to Be Helping FBI Crack Shooter’s iPhone


Israeli firm Cellebrite is helping the FBI to crack open the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, reports the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Following the (surprise) request from the FBI to cancel the hearing because it may not need Apple’s help to open the iPhone which ignited a fierce legal battle between the government and the iPhone maker, Reuters cites a fresh Israeli report naming Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, as the FBI’s partner in gaining access to the data encrypted on the handset.

Cellebrite officials declined to comment, but the Israeli newspaper was able to find out that the firm has had a contract with the FBI since 2013 to provide decryption technology.

Cellebrite has not responded to the report. But if it is indeed the “third party” in question, and it is able to break into the terrorist’s iPhone, it would bring the high-stakes legal showdown between the government and Apple to an abrupt end.
The company provides the FBI with decryption technology as part of a contract signed with the bureau in 2013.

Cellebrite’s technology is able to extract valuable information from cellular devices that could be used in criminal and intelligence investigations, even if the phone and the information it contains are locked and secure.

Apple has been under pressure over its privacy policy and encryption since refusing to comply with a court order to write software – Apple calls it GovtOS – which would weaken the built-in security of iOS so that the FBI can access data on the iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook.