The Israeli cybersecurity firm Cellebrite has claimed it has developed techniques that enable it to unlock any iPhone and extract data from them. If true the tech could have huge implications for Apple and its customers.
Cellebrite boasts its Advanced Unlocking and Extraction Services can break the security of Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPad touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.
Cellebrite also boasted its new techniques could unlock the iPhone 8 and since the security across Apple’s newest phones is similar could break the iPhone X as well.
Unlock iPhone, Android
And it is not only Apple devices.
The firm said they were able to break into Google Android-powered smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola and ZTE.
Cellebrite Advanced Unlocking Services is the industry’s only solution for overcoming many types of complex locks on market-leading devices.
This can determine or disable the PIN, pattern, password screen locks or passcodes on the latest Apple iOS and Google Android devices.- Cellebrite publicity literature
Founded in 1999 Cellebrite provides digital forensic tools and software for mobile phones for law enforcement agencies and private forensic firms across the globe. One of its major customer is the US government.
Its main product is the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) that aids investigators extract data and passwords from mobile phones.
As recently as last November Cellebrite specialists aided America’s Department of Homeland Security break into an iPhone X owned by a suspect in an arms-trafficking case.
FBI terror hacks unlock iPhone X
The controversy around the encryption of Apple phones came to the fore after the FBI took Apple to court in 2016. The FBI wanted the company to unlock the phone belonging to the terrorist behind the San Bernardino shooting.
Frustrated by Apple’s stance, the FBI eventually paid more than one million dollars to a third-party company that unlocked the terrorist’s iPhone.
Last year it transpired the FBI had attempted and failed to extract data from nearly 7,000 mobile devices thanks to encryption.
Law enforcement agencies around the globe have pushed hard against end-to-end encryption on phones, including getting companies like Apple and Google to install backdoors in their devices.
And this latest development will certainly be a challenge for Apple who have guarded their security passionately. And presumably Apple will be working hard to update and patch any vulnerabilities.