Law enforcement in the U.S. may no longer need to obtain Apple’s consent to unlock its iPhones, thanks to a new iOS exploit created by Israel-based software company Cellebrite.
It was reported that the company had a new crack to Apple’s current iOS 11, making it possible for anyone in possession of the crack to break into almost any Apple device.
“These new capabilities enable forensic practitioners to retrieve the full file system to recover downloaded emails, third-party application data, geolocation data and system logs, without needing to jailbreak or root the device,” Cellebrite explained. “This eliminates any risk in compromising data integrity and the forensic soundness of the process. This enables access to more and richer digital data for the investigative team.”
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the Cellebrite first came to light back two years ago when the U.S. FBI and Apple were locked in a battle of privacy rights and consent. Back then, the FBI wanted to access the iPhone 5c of the shooter involved in the San Bernadino shooting, which left 14 people dead and several others wounded (including two police officers).
To do that, the government agency first approached Apple, asking Cupertino if it would provide them with a backdoor that would allow them to access the shooter’s phone. In practice, Apple could’ve easily done this, but refused the law enforcement agency outright, for the simple fear that the FBI – or any government agency for that matter – could easily reverse engineer the backdoor for their own use.