Israeli security firm Cellebrite claims it can bypass the security of iPhones and iPads with all iOS versions, unlocking the devices and extracting files. The tool also works with a number of Android devices.
An overview of the features of the tool, called UFED Premium, can be found on the Cellebrite website. The Israeli security company is advertising the software as a way for police forces to unlock suspects’ devices, which would support all iPhones and iPads; this includes the recently released iOS 12.3. Apple typically tries to patch vulnerabilities that prevent such unlocking tools from working, but if Cellebrite’s claims are true, there is still an unpatched vulnerability in iOS that can be used to circumvent the security.
Incidentally, UFED Premium also supports a number of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy devices up to and including the S9. A number of popular smartphones from Huawei, Xiaomi and LG are also supported; those who want an overview of all supported Android devices should contact Cellebrite.
With UFED Premium, it is not only possible to unlock iOS and Android devices, but it is also possible to retrieve files from the smartphones. Among other things, Cellebrite points out that the tool can extract instant messages and emails from devices. This should help police forces to find evidence of criminal activity among suspects whose smartphone has been seized.
Cellebrite has been working on tools to circumvent the security of smartphones for some time. The company received a lot of attention in 2016, when the FBI wanted access to an iPhone 5c. Apple refused to cooperate. At one point, the FBI managed to gain access to the device with the help of an outside party. It has never been revealed which party that was, although an Israeli newspaper at the time claimed that it was Cellebrite.