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Apple has been on a bit of an adrenalin rush recently, with the latest iOS 12 releases appearing to be stable, andthe iPhone 11 is fast approaching its launch date.
However, everything is about to change.
Cellebrite, a forensics firm based in Israel, has announced that it has figured out how to break into any iPhone or iPad, regardless of which iOS operating system it uses – including the most recent version of iOS 12. Taking into account that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook once boasted that there are around 1.4 billion active devices running on iOS in the world, this is disturbing news indeed.
The Cellebrite report shows that it can carry out a “full file system extraction on any iOS device.” Worst of all, this service is available to anyone who is prepared to pay enough. It is, for example, widely believed that about three years ago, the FBI used Cellebrite to break into an iPhone that belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook, the notorious San Bernardino murderer.
Although on paper, Cellebrite has made all the right noises, including saying that it performs in-depth security checks to make sure that their client has the legal right to crack a particular device and that it can only crack a phone that is physically in its possession. The company’s kits have reportedly been selling on eBay for a mere $100, making it a breeze to crack any iPhone.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that Apple is apparently not even aware of this vulnerability in iOS, and right now it certainly has no way to fix it. For a company that prides itself on selling “secure” devices, this poses an immediate and severe challenge.