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Cellebrite celebrates: Israeli firm can now open iPhone 6 and 6 plus

Israeli mobile forensics company Cellebrite has announced its Advanced Investigative Service (CAIS) has the means to unlock and extract the full file system from a locked iPhone 6 or6 Plus.

Every version before the 6 Plus can also be unlocked by Cellebrite whose forensic researchers say they have successfully bypassed Apple's security and encryption.

To top off the new offerings, Cellebrite also now targets Uber apps on Android and iOS, a potentially massive source of personal data that includes the user's account and locations.

The company has been touting its new ability to easily extract data from encrypted secure messengers including Signal, Telegram, Threema and Surespot.

Cellebrite's director of forensics research, Shahar Tal, tweeted he's proud of his “team's continuous research achievements almost as much as I'm proud of the true justice we help serve around the world”.

CAIS is the in-house product on sale from Cellebrite which offers data extraction from devices even when devices are encrypted or damaged. The firm's website still only promises "the physical extraction of data" from the iPhone 4S, 5, and 5c.

The company explains: “this capability enables forensic examiners and investigators to access the full file system to recover downloaded emails, third-party application data, geolocation data, and system logs, without needing to jailbreak the device.”

The firm also offers products like the new version of the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) Physical Analyser 6.0 for use in the field.

The company charges $1,500 to unlock an individual phone, while a yearly subscription to the service runs for $250,000, according to a report from the Intercept last year.

It's unclear why Cellebrite is as of yet unable to gain access to the iPhone 6s or 7 – at least officially – but the assumption is that with each new iPhone iteration, the better encryption involved mean they are yet to top out the A8 used in the iPhone 6 line. The same goes for the iPad using the A8 chip.

The A7 and A8 should in theory make Apple devices difficult to hack physically, since they include a Secure Enclave that stores Touch ID data. Indeed people who tried updating an iPhone 6 to iOS 9 ran into error messages if they'd had unauthorised repairs affecting the Touch ID system.

A common issue highlighted around Cellebrite developing such tools is that it sells them to local and federal law enforcement agencies in the United States as well as countries like Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, which might not be the biggest promoters of human rights.

Earlier this month, a hacker claiming responsibility for a data breach of Cellebrite's systems which saw it allegedly lose 900GB of data, published hacking tools  relating to Android and Blackberry devices plus older model iPhones.  

The hacker said this demonstrates it is impossible to secure these hacking tools and they will inevitably make their way into public circulation.  

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