Indian government to purchase Cellebrite tech to bypass locked iPhones

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India’s premier forensic institute The Forensic Science Laboratory is buying Cellebrite’s tech that enables it to bypass locked iPhones, reports The Economic Times. The Israeli company made headlines earlier this year when it was reportedly sought out by the FBI to help it access the locked San Bernardino iPhone.

It’s unclear how much the FSL is paying for the technology, or what the deal will mean for other countries and organizations. The Times, however, has a quote from an FSL source saying they believe the move will make it the global go-to place for law enforcement agencies seeking to unlock highsecurity devices.

“We are likely to have the technology within a month or so. India will become a global hub for cases where law enforcement is unable to break into phones,” said a senior FSL official. All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official said devices such as iPhones with operating systems iOS 8 and above are virtually impossible to break into without this technology. In iPhones, failed attempts to guess the passcode results in data deletion or turns data into gibberish. Another FSL official said the laboratory had sought help from the Israeli firm for a few cases. But now the “entire tool” will be obtained. Only FSL Gandhinagar will have this technology. Requests for cracking encrypted devices from the country’s other forensic institutes will be entertained at a fee.

The news comes as encryption and user privacy have become hot topics in the US and around the world. In February, a judge ordered Apple to help the FBI recover data from an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters from last year’s San Bernardino massacre. Apple declined, pushing the case into the spotlight.

Source: The Economic Times