Cellebrite again rumored to have accessed San Bernardino iPhone 5c for FBI

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2016
Citing inside sources, reports this week claim Israeli data forensics firm Cellebrite provided the FBI with technology to extract information from an iPhone 5c linked to San Bernardino terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook.




According to a Thursday report from Bloomberg, people familiar with the FBI's data gathering operation said the agency worked with Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization Ltd., a division of Japan's Sun Corporation, to gain access to Farook's iPhone. On Friday, CNN Money cited its own inside sources as saying a "brilliant" hacker in Seattle managed a group of "elite" Cellebrite engineers to accomplish the exploit.

Both reports seemingly corroborate claims made last week by Israeli publication Yedioth Ahronoth, though the exact method by which FBI agents gained entry to the iPhone unit remains secret. Neither Cellebrite nor the Justice Department have confirmed the rumors.

Confusing the matter, however, are statements from two unnamed law enforcement officials, who on Friday told CNN Cellebrite was not involved. Despite these new claims, circumstantial evidence suggests the firm was indeed contracted to bypass Apple's security measures.

Government records indicate Cellebrite signed a $218,000 FBI contract the same day Justice Department representatives announced Farook's device had been cracked. A longtime Cellebrite customer, the FBI previously inked at least 187 deals over the last seven years for forensics tools averaging $10,883 each, but last week's agreement was the largest to date, CNN reports.

Riding a wave of publicity drummed up by the DOJ's announcement on March 21, and the initialYedioth Ahronoth report last week, Sun Corp. shares jumped more than 40 percent to hit a 2016 peak of 1,245 yen on Wednesday.

As for Apple, the company's attempts to gather information about the FBI's data extraction technique have been fruitless. Whether Apple has standing to force the issue in court is unclear, but security experts say leaving the vulnerability unpatched puts hundreds of millions of iPhones at risk.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Would make more sense for Apple to use one of its legal entities to contract Cellebrite to unlock an iPhone 5c then have to go through what would probably be a long court battle that would  open up the security flaw to the public record. 

    That at is assuming that they actually did unlock the phone of course. 
    edited April 2016 calibaconstangjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Here is how they did it.


    irnchriz
  • Reply 3 of 30
    Still feel the FBI and DOJ are shoveling a BS story.
    lostkiwijbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 30
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    justme12 said:
    Still feel the FBI and DOJ are shoveling a BS story.
    Either way, I'm sure Wall Street will see it the same.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,074member
    The interesting thing about the FBI using an Israeli company is the fact Israel is on the Department of Energy sensitive country list and all dealings with this country have to be reported to a DOE counterintelligence officer. I guess the FBI doesn't care about these types of things. Just because Israel is currently held in favor by the US doesn't mean they aren't actively spying on US companies. I'd like to see the FBI's justification for dealing with a non-American company. Could be interesting.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    This is all bs. They may have paid celebrite but the entire thrust of the fbis plan was to obtain a lawful too to combat or lessen the ease in which a criminal entity might go dark and they simply lost control of the narrative and were caught off guard by the ferocity in which Apple stood its ground.

    it was a wildly misconceived under planned and poorly executed effort that among its high points included Director Comey perjuring himself before Congress twice without penalty and the Attorney General getting a snack down by of all people - Lindsey Graham who apparently does attempt to educate himself on the matters his votes will be counted. His about face made it clear this wasn't happening and the story simply needed to die.

    Apple is aware of Celebryte, NAND mirroring and every single possible other method one currently has or might have to subvert their encryption.

    it started with a lie and do it ends the same way.

    dont care how many people die, how many children are molested or if their diddlers get caught and terroism will never be some kind of super threat afforded expediency and constitutional compromise to get a bad guy if it means somehow they can look in more than just that one phone. 

    Its the the future folks but you can't look in my phone
    caliibillnolamacguyjbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 30
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    It seems like Tim Cook should pursue a contract with Cellebrite to help Apple make their iPhones more secure. Make it a $2 million USD contract and drop the FBI as customer.
    edited April 2016 magman1979
  • Reply 8 of 30
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    The FBI hires a foreign company to crack a US company's phone.

    These guys are BRILLIANT!!

    $218,000?

    I guess the data wasn't worth as much as they made some dumb Americans believe. Maybe that $218,000 will end terrorism?
  • Reply 9 of 30
    gunner1954gunner1954 Posts: 141member
    If Cellebrite has done business with the FBI for the past seven years, and since the FBI obviously trusts them to assist with forensics work, why didn't the FBI request assistance from Cellebrite in this instance? Hmmmmmm?
    mwhitejagnutbaconstangjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 30
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    If Cellebrite has done business with the FBI for the past seven years, and since the FBI obviously trusts them to assist with forensics work, why didn't the FBI request assistance from Cellebrite in this instance? Hmmmmmm?
    FBI wanted a permanent backdoor to the iPhone and a precedence to go after other phones and encryption software manufacturers, so they used a high profile terrorist case (San Bernardino shooting) as a pretext. When they saw their efforts were taking them nowhere as Apple wasn't going to yield to pressure , they tried to back by making up a story that someone all of the sudden had come forward with a way to help them unlock the phone. It is all BS. Snowden has been telling us the FBI could unlock this phone on day 1.
    edited April 2016 lostkiwijagnutbaconstangstevehjbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 30
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    CMA102DL said:
    If Cellebrite has done business with the FBI for the past seven years, and since the FBI obviously trusts them to assist with forensics work, why didn't the FBI request assistance from Cellebrite in this instance? Hmmmmmm?
    FBI wanted a permanent backdoor to the iPhone and a precedence to go after other phones and encryption software manufacturers, so they used a high profile terrorist case (San Bernardino shooting) as a pretext. When they saw this was going nowhere and Apple wasn't going to bow to their pressure, they dropped it and made up a story that someone all of the sudden had come forward with a way to help them unlock the phone. It is all BS. Snowden has been telling us the FBI could unlock this phone on day 1.
    Yes , the 5c had some security holes, but in the future it will get very very hard. It's already nearly impossible if the user uses a alpha password.
    So, they need a precedent to force companies to make their software less secure; thus the court case.

    This was more for future access (which is fading fast) than for current access.
    baconstangjbdragon
  • Reply 12 of 30
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 117member
    Assuming this is about methods to brute-force a 4-digit passcode, and there's nothing wrong with Apple's encryption, users can protect themselves with a longer passcode + Touch ID to make it convenient. https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/passcodes-that-can-defeat-fbi-ios-backdoor/
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Ordinarily, researchers who discover flaws or exploits in product security report them to the affected company.

    Is it ethical to not only withhold details about a security weakness from the manufacturer, but to also profit from it?
    edited April 2016 pscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 30
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 599member
    "has been a customer for 7 years"...! And magically on the last day they come forward to help...! and the funny thing is there are probably people who believe this crap....All the reporters do is regurgitate this nonsense and never once have I heard the "been a customer for 7 years"
    baconstang
  • Reply 15 of 30
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,988member
    Only FBI knows real deal where one company or more were approached by FBI. Whether it really able to crack iphone or not.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    NY1822 said:
    "has been a customer for 7 years"...! And magically on the last day they come forward to help...! and the funny thing is there are probably people who believe this crap....All the reporters do is regurgitate this nonsense and never once have I heard the "been a customer for 7 years"
    So you haven't heard therefore it's BS?
  • Reply 17 of 30
    eideardeideard Posts: 394member
    cali said:
    The FBI hires a foreign company to crack a US company's phone.

    These guys are BRILLIANT!!

    $218,000?...
    And taxpayers will pick up the tab every time.  Bloody obedient nation.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    popswapopswa Posts: 3member
    All this noise about the unlocking the phone, we're forgetting ...um, the other part of the story.  What did they find on the phone?
    jbdragon
  • Reply 19 of 30
    We will soon figure out if the now-cracked phone was worthy of the efforts.  If they capture more bad guys it will probably have been worth it and the FBI will toot their own horn.  Silence means that it was a failed expedition.
    baconstangjbdragonsockrolid
  • Reply 20 of 30
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    eideard said:
    cali said:
    The FBI hires a foreign company to crack a US company's phone.

    These guys are BRILLIANT!!

    $218,000?...
    And taxpayers will pick up the tab every time.  Bloody obedient nation.
    $218,000 is practically free considering the budget for weapons: http://www.economist.com/node/21563702

    "A Tomahawk cruise missile costs about $1.5m, and even the Hellfire, an air-to-ground rocket that weighs a mere 50kg, is $115,000 a pop. In exchange for, say, an enemy tank, that is probably a fair price to pay. To knock out a pick-up truck crewed by a few lightly armed guerrillas, however, it seems a little expensive, and using its shoulder-fired cousin the Javelin ($147,000) to kill individual soldiers in foxholes, as is often the case in Afghanistan, is positively profligate."
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