Late yesterday we posted a report titled "John McAfee Knows who the FBI is working with and Apple's Tim Cook isn't going to be Happy about it." While McAfee didn't want to publicize the company the FBI was using to unlock the iPhone 5c by name, an Israeli publication steps in this morning to reveal the identity of the company.
The Israeli newspaper the Yedioth Ahronoth, reports that "The FBI has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist's locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case.
Although Cellebrite has not responded to the report, it is indeed able to break into the terrorist's iPhone and bring the high-stakes legal showdown between the government and Apple to an abrupt end.
Cellebrite, considered one of the leading companies in the world in the field of digital forensics, has been working with the world's biggest intelligence, defense and law enforcement authorities for many years. Cellebrite's technology is able to extract valuable information from cellular devices that could be used in criminal and intelligence. Cellebrite is a subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp.
Apple said on Monday that if the government was successful in getting into the phone, which might involve taking advantage of previously undiscovered vulnerabilities, it hoped officials would share information on how they did so. But if the government drops the legal case, it would be under no obligation to provide information to Apple."
BloombergBusiness wrote about this specifically this morning by stating that "The FBI’s new tactic may be subject to a relatively new and little-known rule that would require the government to tell Apple about any vulnerability potentially affecting millions of iPhones unless it can show a group of administration officials that there’s a substantial national security need to keep the flaw secret. This process, known as an equities review, was created by the Obama administration to determine if new security flaws should be kept secret or disclosed, and gives the government a specific time frame for alerting companies to the flaws."
Yet Taddeo, who is now the chief security officer for cybersecurity company Cryptzone stated that "I don’t think the government is obligated to tell Apple. The government is obligated to do what’s in the public interest."
Taddeo's point was later supported when the report notes that "the White House carved out an exception for the FBI and other agencies to keep information about software vulnerabilities from manufacturers and the public on national security grounds."
In the end, whether the news out of Israel this morning is true or simply a company taking advantage of the situation to gain marketing exposure is unknown at this time.