Third-Party Tech Help Resolves FBI-Apple Standoff Over Killer's iPhone
NEWS ANALYSIS: The FBI's ability to get third-party technical help to unlock an iPhone at the center of a terrorism investigation raises the question of why it wanted to legally compel Apple to do the job.The drama is over. The rancorous legal drama during which the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to compel Apple to create a work-around that would allow the agency to bypass iOS security measures ended when the bureau announced that it had gained access to an iPhone 5C used by terrorists and that Apple's help was no longer necessary. Previously, the FBI had asked for a delay in its action against Apple when the agency said that it had received an offer of help from a third party and that the method looked like it would work. Then on March 28, the FBI told the court that it was able to gain access to the iPhone used by Sayed Farook, the San Bernardino County employee turned terrorist who killed 14 of his colleagues. The FBI has not said how it gained access to the iPhone, but NBC News has reported that it received confirmation from official sources that the FBI was helped by an Israeli company, Cellebrite, that makes mobile forensic devices. The company has not responded to multiple attempts by eWEEK to confirm the story or otherwise comment.
Once the FBI was able to gain access to the iPhone, it was able to extract its contents. While Cellebrite declined to comment on whether it assisted the FBI, the company's Website does include detailed information about its ability to gain access to iOS devices as well as to recover passcodes. Cellebrite has even provided a video of these processes in action.