Report: Cellebrite has tools that can break into any device running iOS 11, including iPhone X

Cellebrite — the security firm that made headlines after rumors surfaced that it was responsible for breaking into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone in 2016 — is now able to get into any iPhone running iOS 11, even the iPhone X, Forbes reports. The company hasn’t made any flashy public statements about the breakthrough, but its latest marketing materials claim the company can unlock and extract data from “Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.” Sources said Cellebrite is telling customers its engineers have devised ways to get around Apple’s most up-to-date security features, and it’s likely that the company’s tech was used to crack an iPhone X for the Department for Homeland Security last November. Apple hasn’t publicly responded to the news.
While the iPhone X’s lack of Touch ID had been praised for circumventing the ability of police to use a forced fingerprint read to unlock an iPhone, a source in the police forensics community said Cellebrite told him personally they could unlock the iPhone 8, which aside from Touch ID handles security in the same way as the iPhone X. A warrant filed last year shows the iPhone X of a suspect in an arms dealing case was unlocked by Cellebrite, but the methods weren’t disclosed, so it’s possible engineers used some combination of publicly known methods for breaking into an iPhone X using its Face ID function, whether that’s by compelling the suspect to look at the display, creating a lifelike mask or using a similar family member’s face for the scan. Cellebrite seems to be protecting its trade secrets rather than selling them, requiring the police to send the device to their in-house labs to be broken.


Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.