Cellebrite Is ‘Outside Party’ Helping Feds Crack Apple Encryption, Reports Say
Cellebrite, the largest company in the mobile-forensics industry, is the “outside party” assisting federal authorities in cracking Apple encryption, according to an Israeli newspaper.
The Israel-based forensics company’s assistance is helping access the information on the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
The U.S. authorities had asked a judge for a postponement of this week’s hearing on a controversial court order compelling Apple to build software to get around the encryption on Ssyed Farook’s iPhone.
Cellebrite declined to comment.
But the company told Forensic Magazine in November that the latest Apple iPhones and iOS programs were extremely difficult, if not impossible, to bypass.
Some companies are looking to fight fire with fire, using Apple platforms to crack Apple systems. For example, Katana Forensic’s Lantern technology is a Mac-based software the company contends works better to beat other Apple programs.
But, still everyone agrees: the latest iPhones and Apple operating systems have been a difficulty.
“Apple has thrown us a great many curveballs with iOS 8 and 9. It’s a real minefield,” said Sean Morrissey, CEO of Katana. “We’re in a whole new world – but can this encryption bandwagon be turned back around? That’s the question.”
John McAfee, the colorful founder of one of the first anti-virus program, offered his services to the FBI in late February, saying he could get past the Apple encryption. But he later reportedly said he could not make good on the claims – and instead was trying to raise awareness of Apple’s cause.
Apple has said they will fight the order to build new software to get past the current encryption.
Apple launched a new set of devices on Monday, at its headquarters. Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, briefly addressed the stand-off with the feds at the beginning of the event.
"We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government," Cook said at the start of the event. "We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy."