Israel tech firm Cellebrite linked with FBI’s newfound ability to crack iPhone

24 Mar 2016

An Israel-based tech firm called Cellebrite is believed to be helping the FBI hack into the iPhone at the centre of the San Bernardino case

Speculation is rife that an Israel-based cybersecurity company called Cellebrite has enabled the FBI to extract data from the encrypted iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino investigation.

It emerged earlier this week that the FBI had claimed to have found a way to crack the encryption on the iPhone.

It claimed that an “outside party” was able to demonstrate a possible method that would allow the FBI to access the iPhone 5c belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino killings.

“If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case,” the Department of Justice said in a filing to court.

Who are Cellebrite?

Israeli news service reported that US authorities are being aided by a company called Cellebrite to crack the iPhone in the case.

The BBC reported that Cellebrite said it was working with the FBI but would not say in what capacity.

Cellebrite was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Petah Tiqva in Israel and specialises in mobile lifecycle and mobile forensics.

On the company’s own website, it boasts the ability to unlock iPhone devices running operating systems from iOS 8 and upwards.

“One of the greatest challenges faced in the forensic industry today is the need to quickly access mobile device evidence from locked Apple devices running iOS 8.

“Even with the most sophisticated mobile forensics tools and technology available, additional expertise and skills are required to unlock these devices.

“Cellebrite has a unique unlock capability for devices running iOS 8.x that will provide you with unprecedented access to evidence you can stand behind,” Cellebrite said on its website.

Main image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years