Remember when the FBI and Apple were in a tug-of war to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino mass shooter? Not only did Apple refuse to cooperate, but the company also publicly stated that they would no longer help law enforcement unlock any of their devices, putting its customer’s privacy first.
At some point in time, however, the FBI hired a digital forensic company called Cellebrite, paying over $1 million to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. They succeeded. But not only did they succeed, Cellebrite has reportedly figured out how to unlock any type of iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro, and iPad Touch, from iOS 5 to iOS 11. But, that doesn’t mean Android users can rest easy. Cellebrite has historically been able to break into Android smartphones as well.
Some reports are claiming that Cellebrite can unlock the latest iPhone X too. As to how Cellebrite does it, I’m not surprised they aren’t revealing their secret. And, I’m sure Apple’s not too happy about this. Cellebrite’s popular UFED tool, used for extracting information from various mobile devices, might have something to do with it.
But, does Cellebrite’s zero day work on the latest updates of iOS 11? Apple is urging its customers to update their phones. It seems Apple’s been getting hit hard lately with serious vulnerabilities, as we saw last week with the single Teluga text character crash bug. Apple states that the most recent iOS 11.2.6 ensures customers have the latest protection, but Apple declined to specifically comment as to whether this latest iOS version prevents the reported hack by Cellebrite.
Fox-Brewster, T. (2018). The Feds Can Now (Probably) Unlock Every iPhone Model in Existence. Forbes Media LLC. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/02/26/government-can-access-any-apple-iphone-cellebrite/#d2230de667a0
Khandelwal, S. (2018). Phone-Cracking Firm Found a Way to Unlock Any iPhone Model. The Hacker News. Retrieved from https://thehackernews.com/2018/02/unlock-iphone-software.html
Spring, T. (2018). Apple Tackles Cellebrite Unlock Claims, Sort of. Threatpost. Retrieved from https://threatpost.com/apple-tackles-cellebrite-unlock-claims-sort-of/130111/