Cellebrite Reportedly Helping FBI to Unlock iPhone in San Bernardino Case

iPhone Encryption

It was recently reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may not need Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to unlock the iPhone used by one of the shooters in San Bernardino, California in December.

The Department of Justice informed the court that a non-governmental third-party presented a new technique to the FBI to open the iPhone. The agency also requested the court to postpone a hearing on the case compelling Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone.

U.S. prosecutors stated that they were cautiously optimistic that the new technique would work, and would update the court on April 5.

Cellebrite is one of the leaders in digital forensics

The latest report from Yedioth Ahronot newspaper indicated that Cellebrite, an Israeli firm offering mobile forensic software is helping the FBI circumvent the security features of the iPhone. The company refused to comment on the report.

Cellebrite is considered one of the leaders in digital forensics around the work. The Israeli company has been working with the biggest defense, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies worldwide.

In 2013, the company signed a contract with the FBI to provide a decryption technology that can extract valuable information from cellular phones. The agency uses the information in criminal and intelligence investigations.

Apple has no knowledge of the new technique to open the iPhone

During a press call, an Apple executive said they don’t have any knowledge about the new method presented to the FBI to retrieve the information from the iPhone. The executive also stated that the government never showed any indication that it was looking for other solutions to resolve the problem.

The government previously insisted that the only way to access the iPhone is to compel Apple to develop new software that would disable the encryption of the device. The tech giant refused and argued that the government’s request was dangerous and bad for America as it would undermine the privacy and security for millions of people.

The DOJ reiterated its position that it was only interested to access the information on the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. Melanie Newman, the spokeswoman for the agency, said, “That is why we asked the court to give us some time to explore this option. If this solution works, it will allow us to search the phone and continue our investigation into the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people.”

Some people suggested that the legal battle between Apple and the government will likely end if the FBI succeeds in unlocking the iPhone.