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Hacker leaks iOS and Android phone cracking tools

A hacker has leaked tools that they claim are taken from Cellebrite, the Israeli data extraction company that was thrust into the spotlight with the cracking of the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone last year, according to Motherboard.

Following Apple’s refusal to provide access to the iPhone last year, a battle with the FBI ensued, looking like it was going to be taken to the highest courts in the US to be resolved. And then, the FBI stopped pressing for access as they’d got in another way.

That other way was reportedly Cellebrite’s iPhone hacking tool, which it offers to law enforcement and government agencies around the world. Now, according to the report, a hacker has released tools that might have been compromised when 900GB of data was stolen from the company last month. According to the hacker, he’s trying to make the point that if you allow these tools to exist, they will eventually leak online and be made available to everyone.

“The debate around backdoors is not going to go away, rather, its is almost certainly going to get more intense as we lurch toward a more authoritarian society. It’s important to demonstrate that when you create these tools, they will make it out. History should make that clear,” Motherboard cites the hacker as saying in a chat.

Rather than the leaked tools providing access to brand new iPhones, they’re more geared at gaining access to Android and BlackBerry devices, as well as older iPhone models. The newer iPhones requires a different technique to crack it.

On top of potentially leaking cracking tools into the public domain – we haven’t verified the packages work as described – the hacker says that it looks like Cellebrite is, at least in part, using freely available open source code for part of its cracking operations. For its part, Cellebrite says it actively monitors new cracking techniques as they emerge from research.

Related: Apple opposes ‘dangerous’ court order to build iPhone backdoor

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