Cellebrite helping FBI hack San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, report says

Cybersecurity firm Cellebrite is reportedly working with the FBI to help the policing agency unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooters, Israeli media reported Wednesday

Israeli firm said to be working with investigators to circumvent Apple's built-in phone security

Police agencies have been trying to gain access to the San Bernardino suspect's iPhone to see how he planned the attack. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

Cybersecurity firm Cellebrite is reportedly working with the FBI to help the policing agency unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that Israel-based Cellebrite is helping the FBI get around Apple's security to break into the iPhone of the shooter who killed 14 people in December. Apple has resisted requests to do so, citing privacy concerns for other customers and the dangerous precedent it would set.

Cellebrite is a leader among several firms selling smartphone forensics services and software tools to U.S. police agencies. The programs can extract data from iPhones running older versions of Apple's operating system, but they have been stymied by the latest version, known as iOS 9. That's the version running on the San Bernardino iPhone.

Cellebrite hasn't announced any new product that works with iOS 9, but it's likely working on developing one, said Darren Hayes, a computer scientist and cybersecurity expert at Pace University in New York.

FBI and Apple were scheduled to meet in court to settle the issue on Tuesday, but a judge postponed that meeting after the FBI said a "third party" presented a possible method of gaining access, without naming who.

Cellebrite refused to comment on the report Thursday.


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