Security firm claims it can hack any iPhone

Written by David Adams
28/02/2018

In the digital age, it seems, you’re right to be paranoid and to suspect that the government could find out anything they wanted to find out about you, if they chose to do so. Israel-based digital intelligence specialist Cellebrite (part of Sun Corporation) claims its engineers can break into any device running iOS 11, which would mean any iPhone, including the iPhone X.

A company insider has told Forbes magazine that the company has revealed its capabilities to clients, including the US government, over the past few months. Anyone who wanted to take advantage of them would need to give the device to Cellebrite, who then break into the device within their own premises. It is thought the technique has already been used to break into an iPhone X as part of an investigation into arms trafficking in the US state of Michigan.

There is no sign at present of Cellebrite revealing how it breaks the devices’ security, although it would be reasonable to guess its method is based on the discovery of a zero-day flaw. If Cellebrite doesn’t reveal the answer, Apple (or anyone else) would only be able to address that flaw if they happened to discover it themselves. Assuming that doesn’t happen, in a world where governments themselves are vulnerable to security vulnerabilities, there is a risk that knowledge of the flaw will somehow be extracted from Cellebrite’s laboratory. For now, iPhone users can do nothing more than ensure they download all the security updates Apple is able to provide.