By Jesse Lempel/TPS
Technology experts reveal that an Israeli company could dramatically circumvent the legal conflict between the FBI and Apple by hacking the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook.
Cellebrite, a multinational cellular forensic company headquartered in Petah Tikva, has a sole-source contract with the FBI and provides the intelligence service with the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), which can break into locked iPhones and Android devices.
The US government has for weeks been attempting to legally compel Apple to hack into the phone belonging to Farook who murdered fourteen people in San Bernardino, California with his wife in December. Apple has publicly refused and has insisted that breaking into the phone would compromise the security of all its devices.
After having long claimed that only Apple could access the phone’s information, the Justice Department abruptly reversed itself on Monday, March 24 and announced that it may no longer need Apple’s cooperation since “an outside party had demonstrated a way for the FBI to possibly unlock the phone,” the New York Times reported.
While it now appears that Cellebrite is the party behind the game-changing hacking technology, the company did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment.
The about-face drew criticism from NSA-leaker Edward Snowden who said that it demonstrated that the FBI’s earlier testimony was “perjury.”