FBI vs. Apple : Israeli company Cellebrite is the one which will hack San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone for FBI

The FBI vs. Apple case which had turned into a battle zone between privacy lovers, encryption supporters and authorities is headed for a new plot twist. The iPhone hacking case, which had evoked some reactions even from the staunchest of critics has a Israeli angle to it. When FBI asked the court to postpone the hearing for a few days, most watchers, including Apple had only one question for FBI. How will it hack the iPhone without Apple’s help?

Looks like an Israeli cybersecurity firm is helping FBI to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s intervention. The Israeli digital forensics firm that’s had a history of working with the FBI has been reportedly working with FBI in the past in matters of hacking.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Cellebrite, a company that specializes in extracting information from cell phones, was the mysterious “outside party” that came forward and offered to help the FBI gain access to an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers.

Based on Cellebrite’s hacking expertise, the Department of Justice asked for an eleventh-hour postponement in its hearing over a court order.

According to IBT, Cellebrite, a private company founded in 1999 and based in Petah Tikva, Israel, manufactures a variety of technologies that make it possible for law enforcement agencies to extract crucial data from popular cell phones.  Cellebrite has a good working relation with FBI. In 2013, the FBI purchased two kits for extracting data from cell phones from Cellebrite. According to the procurement documents, the Cellebrite system can “quickly extract phonebook, pictures, videos, SMS messages, call histories” and deleted histories for rapid analysis. It had more than $280,000 worth of contracts with the agency.

Cellebrite on its website says it’s able to get past the passcode on iPhones running  iOS 8, however, the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone has a much later version of iOS.

As the iPhone hacking case moves on from Apple to Cellebrite, it looks like the US government is getting what it wants even as Apple and its supporters are left crying hoarse.


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