Companies would earlier crack devices on behalf of governments in secrecy, and guarded even their capabilities. But now it seems like they are proudly tweeting about their updated abilities to hack new iPhones.
The Israeli forensics firm and law enforcement contractor Cellebrite publicly announced on Friday morning that a new version of its product called Universal Forensic Extraction Device or UFED is released. It says that the update has a tool that can now easily unlock any iOS device cops lay their hands on.
Cellebrite also claims that UFED Premium can retrieve files from many recent Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S9. No other law enforcement contractor has made such broad claims publicly.
It seems like the move signals towards the recent face-off between smartphone makers and government-sponsored firms that seek to defeat their security. “Cellebrite is proud to introduce #UFED Premium! An exclusive solution for law enforcement to unlock and extract data from all iOS and high-end Android devices.” wrote the company on its Twitter feed for the UFED product.
The announcement also follows a move from Apple last fall to add new security features that crippled another iPhone-unlocking tool named the GrayKey devices, sold by the Atlanta-based company Grayshift. “This will allow investigators access to newer and updated devices that they didn’t have access to before,” says Sarah Edwards, a forensics researcher for the security training group the SANS Institute. “It’s well understood that this is the business Cellebrite is working in,” says Dan Guido, founder of the New York-based security firm Trail of Bits and a long time iOS-focused security researcher. “It was only a matter of time until they solved the problem, and then told people about they solved it, which is what we’re seeing now.”