All iOS devices can be unlocked says maker of leading cracking device

All iOS devices can be unlocked says maker of leading cracking device
Depending on your age, you might remember the old days when you walked into a Verizon store, bought a subsidized phone for $99 or $199, and the rep used a Cellebrite machine to transfer over your contacts to the new handset. The machines, used for data extraction, would occasionally tip us off to upcoming new phones. The Israeli company got plenty of press back in 2016 when Apple refused to comply with a federal court order to unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. This would have forced Apple to create a special version of iOS for the government, and the company was fearful that a leak would make every iPhone owner vulnerable to having his handset hacked. Eventually, the FBI paid Cellebrite to open the phone, and found no useful information.

Machines like the ones produced by Cellebrite and GrayShift plug into an iPhone's Lightning port to bypass limits on passcode attempts. Apple thought that it had put the kibosh on these "cracking" devices by adding USB Restricted Mode to iOS 12. This prevents the port from communicating with other devices if an iPhone has not been unlocked within the last hour. But Cellebrite and Apple each take turns trying to get the upper hand over the other, and now it is Cellebrite that is on top. The Cellebrite website now states (via AppleInsider) that it can "perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on any many high-end Android devices."


On its web site, Cellebrite promotes its devices as a tool for law enforcement. "Gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more, increase your chances of finding the incriminating evidence and bringing your case to a resolution," it says. But these devices are available for individuals to purchase. Earlier this year, we showed you how easy it is to obtain a Cellebrite machine. Several previously used devices showed up on eBay back in February, priced as low as $100.

Cellebrite says that it can crack open iPhones running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3


For those who consider the use of a Cellebrite machine to be invasive like using wiretaps, Cellebrite Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Nazarian said last year that there is a difference. The executive pointed out that using the Cellebrite machine requires physical access to one's smartphone. "It's not like anyone is listening to your iPhone or my iPhone," Nazarian said. "There's nothing inherent in the technology that means it's open to misuse."

The Cellebrite website says that it can crack open Apple devices running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3. It also works on "high-running" Android models like the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, and Galaxy S9. It also will crack open certain Android handsets made by Huawei, LG, and Xioami. And if there is a really tough phone to crack, the company has certified forensic experts that can gain access to "sensitive mobile evidence from several locked, encrypted or damaged iOS and Android devices using advanced in-lab only techniques."

Cellebrite might be the most widely known name in the industry, but it does have a rival in Grayshift. The latter's GrayKey cracking machine defeated Apple's USB Restricted Mode last summer even before iOS 12 had been released. But Grayshift appears to be more secretive of its device and methods. The company requires that users seek company approval before being allowed to enter its website and says, "GrayKey is not for everyone. We kindly request that you tell us a bit about yourself and your organization."

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57 Comments

1. Tipus

Posts: 866; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

So much for "most secure" :))

6. DolmioMan

Posts: 325; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

“It will also crack android devices”

18. wickedwilly

Posts: 689; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

"Most" was the word used, not "all". Google or Android OEMS do not claim the level of security Apple does.

25. sgodsell

Posts: 7344; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

"The Cellebrite website says that it can crack open Apple devices running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3." Apple and their zealots like to dream and pretend, that "what's on an iPhone, stays on an iPhone.". Yeah, right!

36. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

This says 12.3 not 12.3.1, which is the latest. So just update your iPhone and you are fine.

39. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1418; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Except you don't know that to be true. Truth is it could still work when iOS 13 comes out.

41. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Neither do you, but generally when they release these things they stipulate the exact iOS version they can hack. Until you can show me where they stipulate 12.3.1, this is limited to 12.3 which was released in early May, 12.3.1 was released in late May.

15. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2352; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

There are two things to note here: 1. This is just what the company themselves claim. Any company that wants to sell a product will claim that they have the tool to do the job. 2. It requires physical access. It also does not say exactly how long it would take to decrypt the data. I mean are we talking about hours or days or months depending on the strength of the passcode used to encrypt?

47. blingblingthing

Posts: 953; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

They have a history of going this. This is their field. Why would they be lying?

22. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

"I can crack the Pentagon servers; you should trust me that I am telling you the truth."

24. tedkord

Posts: 17352; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yeah, I'm sure they are selling a product that doesn't work to the world's law enforcement agencies. Sounds like a brilliant business plan. Swooped right in to Apple's rescue, as usual.

26. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Can you point me to that said product that works with a USB locked iPhone? I want to buy 10, but I don't seem to find one on their site...

27. TheOracle1

Posts: 2258; Member since: May 04, 2015

Leo what are you doing here? I thought you'd gone to work for Verizon advising them on their lawsuit with Huawei? Lol

29. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

They can't afford me; also, I prefer to do pro bono work, showing people how stupid are some Phonearena readers.

30. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1418; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

So far you're only proving how stupid you are. You're like a little kid that's stuck his fingers in his ears and goes: "Lalala, can't hear you!"

31. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

When Apple hater dumb asses call me stupid, because I debunk their f**ked up logic, I take it as a compliment. Can you explain why would you think cellebrite's claim but you don't believe mine?

32. TheOracle1

Posts: 2258; Member since: May 04, 2015

Because they have a track record and also have the FBI as clients. You are just a wannabe Apple internet troll that proves his stupidity online every day.

43. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

So far, there is only one record of - military grade - equipment tat was able to unlock an iPhone that uses an enclave and for all that we know, the security has already been closed by Apple.

34. slim3bdo

Posts: 173; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

Leo Logic and reason are things you clearly dont know . We call you stupid because you are excatly as he said : a child with his fingers in his ears . You will defend apple blindly justlike few days ago and the home screen stupid argument you had , when all readers agreed that apple should let users move icons freely , yet your argument is a piece of ..... heck , Every one can look at your posts in any article and see how stupid you are . For me you reason number 1 to come to PhoneArena then comes the rest of apple sheeps . Thereis no better entertainment than you .

44. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You call me names, because your mind is so limited, it makes it impossible for you to express intelligent thoughts. If you are not able to understand what I write, maybe you should not read it until you grow your IQ with at least 50%.

48. slim3bdo

Posts: 173; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

ROFL with every post you prove your stupidity , i didnt give you any name , i just pointed out that your stupid which is an adjective . Can you tell me more about the aliens that visited you , did they do anything to you , i always here from abducted ppl by aliens that they have big probs . Im sure they found you the most interesting from your comments here . Please tell us the whole story :)))))

49. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I can see that English is not your strong point. "to call someone names" = to insult someone. I'm sure that when (and if) we ever will meet some aliens, I will be an interesting person to talk to.

50. oldskool50

Posts: 1491; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Dude. He knows what you mean when he said he didn't call you a name. But he is right about YOU though.

54. slim3bdo

Posts: 173; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

If you weren't stupid then its realy an insult , but thank you for proving how stupid you are . Move to next article plz ;)

51. wickedwilly

Posts: 689; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

If you are going to accuse others of not being able to express intelligent thoughts you should at least write properly yourself. IQ to at least 50% or by 50% would make more sense, but not with "at least". I understand making spelling and grammatical errors, but not when you are pointing out someone's lack of intelligence you should check what you write.

53. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It must be hell to live with so much hate inside...

55. wickedwilly

Posts: 689; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

There is no hate, just pointing out the obvious. If you start making posts that make sense or are not wacky, there would be no need to comment.

56. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The moment I will start to write stuff that make sense to a hateful biased mass of people is the moment I have lost half of mind. Although, I think that what I say makes perfect sense even for you all, because you feel the need to access the bullshit part of your brains in order to combat it.

37. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Make it more interesting Leo, can they point us to where it says it can unlock devices on 12.3.1!? Lol. Apple already beat them, this only goes up to 12.3, so one just has to update their iOS device to 12.3.1 and they are sorted. Beauty is that iOS 12.3.1 is available to majority of iOS devices, unlike Android 9 Pie which some high end Androids don’t even have.

45. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I highly doubt this company can unlock and extract data from ANY iPhone. They might be able to decrypt some of the data through brute force, when the access key is a 4 digit code, but that becomes cumbersome when we're talking about 6 digits and nearly impossible when there's an alphanumeric password.

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