Indian Government Purchasing Cellebrite Technology Used to Bypass Locked iPhones

by

iphone_5s_touch_idIndia's Forensic Science Laboratory is in negotiations to purchase the security bypassing technology used by Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, the company that the FBI enlisted to help unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter earlier in the year (via The Economic Times).

The FBI needed Cellebrite's "mobile forensics solutions" to bypass the lock on the iPhone 5c in question, a method which Apple vehemently opposed throughout the lengthy public spat between it and the U.S. Justice Department.

Cellebrite has worked with government and law enforcement agencies "around the world," and the FBI's interaction with the company was reported earlier in the year to cost somewhere around $1 million. The terms of India's purchasing agreement with Cellebrite were not laid out, but an anonymous official from the Forensic Science Laboratory said that the Indian government is expected to get the unlocking technology fairly soon.

“We are likely to have the technology within a month or so. India will become a global hub for cases where law enforcement is unable to break into phones,” said a senior FSL official. All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As the FSL official mentioned, after its purchase of Cellebrite India intends to become the "global hub" for cases similar to the one between Apple and the FBI that occurred this year, since it will now own the "entire tool" to open encrypted smartphones. It's mentioned, although not in much detail, that requests the FSL receives by other institutes to unlock a smartphone "will be entertained at a fee."

It's not clear how India's purchase will be different from anyone else's, or what would lead the country to become a "global hub" when others can also seek out help from Cellebrite.

Despite the FBI eventually finding nothing of importance in the San Bernardino iPhone, the political and technological climate surrounding the case will continue because encryption is "essential tradecraft" of terrorists, according to FBI director James Comey. His prediction came true last month when the agency began looking into the "legal and technical options" for entering the iPhone of the culprit behind the Minnesota mall stabbings in mid-September.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
51 months ago
Countless governments own this tech and have for years.

This isn't news.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
51 months ago
Very much non-news. Would be more interesting if the tech could crack the newer/newest iPhones with the Secure Element/Touch ID.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
51 months ago
Government is scum.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
51 months ago
Just wondering if they should spend that money on this and would be better off to educate people about birth control. 18% = 1.27 billion (1 in 6) of all the people in the world live in India.

Hard on the heels of China.

Projected to b 1.6 billion by 2050.

No way they have the resources or jobs for everybody.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
51 months ago

The arms race saga continues. But what do you do? If the private and public sectors aren't adversarial, they may be colluding. If they aren't allies, they might stifle creativity and innovation.

The private and public sector have always been allied and adversarial. Heck often at the same time, with the same companies.:eek: It just depends on the circumstances.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
51 months ago

Somebody must have watched Hellraiser this Halloween! Sounds similar, but the demons were cenobites and the box was the "lament configuration" or something like that. Great franchise back in the day.

Hahaha, exactly, a halloween favorite of ours, and I know the original source, movies and even comic literature +extremely+ well (so yeah, I knew cenobites vs. cellebrite, just a bad joke :D )
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Video Offers Closer Look at Apple Face Mask

Friday September 25, 2020 5:25 am PDT by
YouTube channel Unbox Therapy has today shared a new video giving a closer look at Apple's reusable face masks for corporate and retail employees. Apple's own face mask was designed by the company's Engineering and Industrial Design teams amid the global health crisis for corporate and retail employees, and the boxes include Apple's famous "Designed by Apple in California" text. The...

Upcoming Xbox App Update Will Let Xbox Users Stream Games to iPhone and iPad

Friday September 25, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Microsoft is testing a new version of its Xbox app that will let Xbox users play games remotely on their iPhones and iPads using streaming functionality. The new feature was rolled out to TestFlight users this morning. The Xbox streaming option is distinct from Microsoft's xCloud service, which it has been clashing with Apple over. xCloud is designed to stream games from Microsoft's servers, ...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 With Fixes for WiFi Bug, 27-Inch iMac Graphics Issues

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:32 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.7, the latest update to the macOS Catalina software. macOS Catalina 10.15.7 fixes several major bugs that Mac users have been experiencing, and it comes a month after the latest macOS Catalina release. The ‌‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...