Remember the epic encryption battle between Apple and the FBI over unlocking an iPhone belonging to a terrorist who was responsible for the San Bernardino mass shooting two years ago?
After Apple declined to let the FBI access data on the encrypted iPhone, the FBI ended up paying a third-party company over a million dollars to unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5c.
Now, it appears that the FBI will not have to fight Apple over unlocking iPhones, as Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensics firm, has purportedly worked out a means to unlock practically any iPhone on the market, including the latest iPhone X.
According to Forbes, Cellebrite, a prominent security contractor to US law enforcement agencies, claims to have a new hacking tool that can unlock nearly any iPhone running iOS 11 and older versions.
Cellebrite claims that their “Advanced Unlocking and Extraction Services” can defeat the security of “Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro, and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11” in its own literature [PDF].
According to the magazine, Cellebrite was also able to unlock the iPhone 8, and because the security across Apple’s newest iPhone devices functioned in a similar way, the business can also breach the security of the iPhone X.
Cellebrite can also break into Google Android-powered smartphones from Samsung (Galaxy and Note series), Alcatel, Google Nexus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, ZTE, and others.
According to Cellebrite literature, “Cellebrite Advanced Unlocking Services is the industry’s sole solution for bypassing numerous sorts of difficult locks on market-leading devices.”
“On the latest Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones, this can determine or disable the PIN, pattern, password screen locks, or passcodes.”
Last November, the Department of Homeland Security allegedly used a Cellebrite-trained specialist to break into an iPhone X belonging to a suspect in an arms trafficking case.
The method or technology utilised by law enforcement to hack into the iPhone X is not mentioned in a warrant reviewed by Forbes.
Cellebrite, which was founded in 1999, provides digital forensics tools and software for mobile phones to its customers, which include the United States government.
The Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), which claims to let investigators extract all data and passwords from mobile phones, is one of its primary products.
While the iPhone hacking tool developed by Cellebrite has the potential to damage hundreds of millions of Apple customers, Apple also releases software upgrades and patches on a regular basis.
Users are encouraged to keep their smartphones up to date, as it is unclear whether the company’s hacks would function with the recent iOS 11 updates.
Neither Cellebrite nor Apple responded to the latest report right away.