tech2 News Staff Feb 27, 2018 08:05 AM IST
The last time we heard about Israeli security firm Cellebrite, it was about two years ago in the FBI's battle against Apple in the San Bernardino shooting case. While Apple and the FBI were locked up in a cat and mouse chase, the FBI eventually had its way with a third-party company that offered to unlock the iPhone 5c, a smartphone which belonged to a terrorist involved in the same case.
The FBI reportedly paid the security firm, a little under $1 million to get the passcode for the locked iPhone, the same one that Apple refused to unlock.
During the case, Apple CEO, Tim Cook went as far as saying that giving backdoor access to the law enforcement agencies was nothing short of a "software equivalent of cancer."
According to Forbes, the Israel-based vendor has become the US government's go to company when it comes to unlocking devices.
Now that the dust has settled, a year later, the same firm has now announced that it can unlock an any of Apple's iPhones and iPads. According to Forbes, this list even includes the famed iPhone X smartphone, its latest and greatest.
The long list of mobile devices now also includes Android-powered smartphones, with brands like Samsung (Galaxy and Note series), Alcatel, Google's Nexus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, ZTE and many more on the list.
Cellebrite shot out a document detailing the same under the firm's 'advanced unlocking and extraction services'
"Devices supported for Advanced Unlocking and Extraction Services include:
Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.
Google Android devices, including Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note devices; and other popular devices from Alcatel, Google Nexus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, ZTE, and more."
The only compelling reason for someone to buy an iPhone over more open, less expensive competitors was @Apple's stronger stance on users' right to privacy and security. This story and Forbes' Cellebrite report (https://t.co/insMgQARrY) threaten the core of an iPhone's value. https://t.co/qgXBmnJphl
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 26, 2018
Cellebrite sees its services as ethical hacking.
"The race to uncover evidence can either prevent a crime from occurring or assist in a criminal investigation that can prove innocence, lead to an arrest or conviction. " reads the document.
While the above mentioned document, does not list iPhones by model, it could also include the iPhone X that touts Apple's new Face ID security feature. The same report also sheds some light on a previous attempt made by the US government to unlock an iPhone X in a warrant that showed up in the state of Michigan. The probe is to do with a suspect in the arms trafficking case, where an iPhone X was taken from the suspect just before boarding a flight for Beirut Lebanon on 20 November, 2017.
While Cellebrite claims that it can unlock any iPhone that runs anything between iOS 5 to iOS 11, it is also wise to keep in mind that Apple rolls out software updates on a regular basis, so it's hard to tell if the software company's hacks work on the latest updates of iOS 11. Celebrite does however claim that its "list of supported products is continuously updated" so customers should contact Cellebrite for specific requests.