Apple recently focused much of its marketing on how secure the iPhone is. The comany often stresses that nobody, not even law enforcement, can get into your Apple-secured data without a fight.
But now there’s a new tool that claims to crack open iPhones easily, even those on the most recent software patch. Cellebrite, an Israeli company that makes data extraction and analysis devices, now offers UFED Premium, a service that claims it can break into iPhones running iOS 7 - 12.3, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S7, S8 and S9 models and Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi handsets.
As reported by AppleInsider. the extract and decode software is available to the military, law enforcement and intelligence communities, and can crack passwords and extract the content held on the device. It is "on-premise" software, meaning it can be run on an organization’s own computers rather than sending the data or the phone to Cellebrite for processing.
Historically, Apple doesn’t like the police or anyone else using exploits in iOS to open up suspects’ phones. This most notably happened in the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, during which Apple and the FBI struggled to come to a compromise.
The dispute was eventually rendered irrelevant when the FBI used a third party company to open up the suspect’s iPhone instead. Cellebrite is believed to have been the unnamed company involved in this effort, according to an Israeli news report.
Cellebrite has also appeared in the news when some of its tools, intended only for government use, ended up on eBay at low prices. This, along with governments around the world trying to make changes to privacy legislation to permit law enforcement access to encrypted messaging, are the main reasons why digital privacy remains a hotly contested topic.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.