x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA
  • Hidden picShow menu
  • Home
  • News
  • Company reportedly unlocking terrorist's iPhone 5c for the FBI, also does work for Apple

Company reportedly unlocking terrorist's iPhone 5c for the FBI, also does work for Apple

Posted: , by Alan F.

Tags :

Company reportedly unlocking terrorist's iPhone 5c for the FBI, also does work for Apple
The other day, we passed along a report that named Israeli company Cellebrite as the firm supposedly getting paid $15,278 by the FBI to open up Syed Farook's iPhone. The government turned to a third party to open the phone after Apple repeatedly refused to comply with a court order that would have forced it to develop a unique version of iOS to open the handset. Apple's concern is that by developing this so-called "Govt. OS," the code might get into the wrong hands making every iPhone in the world vulnerable to attack.

As it turns out, Cellebrite machines can be found inside Apple's retail stores. There, they are employed by reps who use it to transfer contact lists and other content from an old phone to a just purchased iPhone. What is interesting is that Cellebrite's website points out that its machines work with iPhones running iOS 8, but doesn't mention iOS 9. Yet, the Apple iPhone 5c that was used by Farook contains iOS 9.

Cellebrite's name came up after the FBI said that it was cancelling a court hearing that was scheduled to take place last Tuesday. At the time, the Feds said that it would no longer need the court to force Apple's cooperation since it found a third party to unlock Farook's iPhone. Additionally, a contract was discovered online on that very same day that showed the FBI agreeing to pay Cellebrite $15,278 to handle some job for it. It seemed like too much of a coincidence not to expect this to be related to the unlocking of the deceased terrorist's handset.

The fear that law enforcement officials have is that without knowing the passcode of a locked iPhone, information inside the device could get wiped after ten incorrect attempts to enter the code. To combat that, another firm called Rook Security has come up with a method to create a copy of the flash memory on an iPhone. The hope is that a backup will allow law enforcement to restore data that was wiped after ten incorrect attempts to crack the passcode.

With all of these security companies focused on selling their services to the government, it should come as no surprise when Syed Farook's phone is finally unlocked without Apple's involvement. Jeremy Kirby, sales director at Cellebrite competitor Susteen sums up the current situation. "Anything is crackable," Kirby says. "It's just how much time do you have and how much money do you have to spend."

source: AP via BGR

49 Comments
  • Options
    Close






posted on 26 Mar 2016, 11:57 2

1. zeppo (Posts: 109; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


McFee will does it for free. Why didn't FBI ... ? BTW, if Cellebrite or any third party can open it so that means iOS is not secured after all like they said

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:17 3

3. izim1 (Posts: 714; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


It has never been 100% secured. No one is. No OEM has ever made that claim. Security flaws have been exposed since iOS 1 and have been patched with every new update to the system. This would be no different. Whatever way they break into it it would be patched in a coming update. The point was/is that there's a huge difference between someone picking your lock and you just handing over the key. Apple's stance has always been refusing to hand over the key. A stance backed by just about every major software company in the game. Including google, who is open source.

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 02:18 1

50. Plutonium239 (Posts: 1059; Member since: 17 Mar 2015)


I have yet to see an instance of anyone breaking into Windows Phone 8, 8.1 or Windows 10 mobile. No one as of yet has been able to(not that it hasn't been tried) this is one reason why Windows Mobile has been being increasingly adopted by Enterprise and government sector.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:06 5

2. FluffyBled (Posts: 530; Member since: 10 Sep 2014)


That last sentence though xD! No system is safe!

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:26

4. Trakker (Posts: 283; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Very clever to use an Israeli firm because any American criticising Israel for any reason are somehow seen as anti-American.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 13:29

16. aReefer (Posts: 41; Member since: 21 Mar 2015)


Very clever indeed considering that many of the core components for modern cellphones were developed there - and that Apple itself has also opened R&D facilities there - not to mention the many Israeli tech startups they have bought-out to improve innovation in their next generations of iPhones.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:29 1

5. zebramall1101 (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Mar 2016)


Ok am I the only one who would have requested a LOT more from the government for hacking the iPhone?? While I know we the citizens pay for that charge in the end, $15,278 isn't a lot for a big business like Cellebrite. It would be curious to see how they came to such a paltry sum.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:39 2

7. Subie (Posts: 955; Member since: 01 Aug 2015)


The publicity that Cellebrite is now receiving is far more valuable then the money earned for opening up one phone.

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 02:21

51. Plutonium239 (Posts: 1059; Member since: 17 Mar 2015)


I would think they offered a discount because they are interested in breaking into a terrorists phone to help uncover accomplices.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:32 7

6. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3302; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


"Anything is crackable"

100% agreed. Nothing made by man is unhackable by man.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:43 7

9. OfficialAndroidOpinion (banned) (Posts: 19; Member since: 24 Mar 2016)


Certainly anything made by those clowns at Apple.

#seeTheLight

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:52 5

10. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3302; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


It may be easier with apple's software and devices, considering they're the most vulnerable on the planet (even worse than flash that they despise):

http://www.dereferer.org/?http%3A%2F%2Fbit%2Ely%2F1SswEXw

But doesn't make it impossible with Android/Linux nor Windows.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 16:42

25. natypes (Posts: 1099; Member since: 02 Feb 2015)


That is an amazing link lmao

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 00:08

48. Leo_MC (Posts: 1698; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


That report is full of errors.

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 02:27

52. Plutonium239 (Posts: 1059; Member since: 17 Mar 2015)


It depends on which variant of Windows. Although I agree with the general statement that it is not impossible to break into any OS, however, I have yet to see any evidence of anyone being able to break into Windows Phone 8, 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile. The only system that would be next to impossible to break into is one that is non-networked, heavily guarded with multiple layers of physical security, requires some special piece of hardware to boot it and the storage is encrypted to a degree that would take even a quantum computer decades to crack(which would be very insane encryption).

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 15:32

22. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 10678; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Common sense.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 12:54

12. jeroome86 (Posts: 1371; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Why the big hoopla about Apple designing a gov iOS then? Since they can do this.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 13:00 5

14. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3302; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Apple doesn't want to be the creator of iCancer...

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 13:13 1

15. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4465; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Why is everyone acting like Cellebrite is a new thing? Cellebrite has been around for a long time, it's what cell carriers used to transfer contacts and such from a customer's old phone to their new one. In fact, before we had all these leakers posting info, most upcoming phone confirmation came from a device being added to Cellebrite's database. This is not a new thing, look it up.

http://www.phonearena.com/search/term/Cellebrite

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 14:06 1

17. izim1 (Posts: 714; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


No one is acting like cellebrite is a new thing. We know what it is and what it's used for.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 17:49 1

29. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4465; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Then why publish this story? Cellebrite is used by everyone, carriers, certain OEMS, etc. So if everyone knows about Cellebrite, why publish this story? They might as well run a story than Apple makes smartphones while they're at it.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 18:49

34. izim1 (Posts: 714; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


No one is acting like cellebrite is anything new. I dunno where you're getting that from. None of the articles on this have even come close to implying that it's a new thing. You're just making that up on your own out of nowhere. If there's a story in this article it's simply that cellebrite isn't just at carrier stores, like 99% of tech people already know, but apple stores as well. Which is probably less common knowledge as Apple is supposed to do everything, specially syncing their own ecosystem, in house. But again, no one is implying they're new. At any point in time. Maybe you can point out what's giving you that impression? Otherwise you're just coming across as having mental issues, dude.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 22:05 1

45. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4465; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Cellebrite is used by anyone who transfers customer data from one device to another. How did people think Apple did it in their stores? What I've been saying is that this is a needless article. This is right up there with articles on how to change the ringer volume on your phone.

I raised a point, nothing more. You're acting like this article was informative and necessary. We've had two articles about Cellebrite unlocking this iPhone, that's one article too many.

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 09:31

56. izim1 (Posts: 714; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Again, and for the last time, no one has ever implied that cellebrite is a new thing. You made that up on your own simply to bitch and I, unfortunately, took the bait. If multiple articles on something bother you so much than maybe turn off the internet and try the good ol' fashioned newspaper because every site from BGR to engadget to phonearena does it. Hell even newspapers will publish follow up stories on the same subject so you might just be outta luck, chief. Maybe seek some professional help.

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 18:52

62. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4465; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Or you could have also just passed my comment by, but you felt the need to tell me how wrong I was. So maybe take a bit of your own advice there slappy. I didn't force you to reply to my comment, you could've ignored it and moved on just like you think I should unplug from the internet. I guess neither of us is getting what we want.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 14:13 1

19. darkkjedii (Posts: 22052; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I'm glad Apple put their foot down, and kept it down.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 20:29

40. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


"You would be glad, because you are a big Apple blind Fanboys".

Here is what I have not seen addressed. Apple is acting like the only way to open THAT PARTICULAR PHONE is to put in a 'back door' that will affect all their phones. Why can't they just open that one? If that can be done, their intransigence would be completely ridiculous. And, while I'm typing this on a MacBookPro, this would be the LAST Apple product I'd buy. Who wants to do business with a company that protects known terrorists?

posted on 27 Mar 2016, 22:33

65. 47AlphaTango (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Sep 2015)


If it was an android device. And the device is tightly secured. Then, it was used by the terrorists. Afterwards, after getting the terrorists android device and wants Google to unlock the device. And Google refuses them. Would you respond the same comment as the same as your doing to Apple right now. I'm a hybrid user and I know when to judge in a right place.

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 15:33

23. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


HA! I knew there was something fishy in this story!

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 20:02

37. ibend (Posts: 5094; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


maybe apple order (and help) that company to crack that phone, just because they dont want to face FBI in the court (and thats why FBI pay relatively small amount to get that phone cracked)

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories