Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Wednesday.
If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple, the Israeli daily said, citing unnamed industry sources.
Cellebrite officials declined to comment on the matter.
Apple is engaged in a legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department over a judge's order that it write new software to disable passcode protection on the iPhone used by the shooter.
The two sides were set to face off in court on Tuesday, but on Monday a federal judge agreed to the government's request to postpone the hearing after U.S. prosecutors said a "third party" had presented a possible method for opening an encrypted iPhone.
The development could bring an abrupt end to the high-stakes legal showdown which has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States.
Cellebrite, a subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp, has its revenue split between two businesses: a forensics system used by law enforcement, military and intelligence that retrieves data hidden inside mobile devices and technology for mobile retailers.
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While I cannot tell you whether this story is true I can add that it is plausible.
Cellebrite pitches this kind of service on its website. "One of the greatest challenges faced in the forensic industry today is the need to quickly access mobile device evidence from locked Apple devices running iOS 8," the site says, adding that "Cellebrite has a unique unlock capability for devices running iOS 8.x that will provide you with unprecedented access to evidence you can stand behind."
Basically, there was never a need for the FBI to force Apple to develop a new firmware to make the iPhone more hackable. This type of service already existed, and that means that the FBI really was interested in setting a legal precedent rather than getting into the iPhone - just like everyone had guessed months ago.
image by C_osett