It appears that no one is safe from the hacking capabilities of Israeli security firm Cellebrite. Cellebrite is well-known in law enforcement circles for its lineup of hardware devices that are able to use brute force methods to hack smartphones and tablets.
The company recently announced that it has the capability to "perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device" with its latest Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). This newest product, dubbed UFED Premium, can chew through any and all passcodes on an iOS device to unlock them. What's even more critical, which Apple has attempted to thwart in the past with USB Restricted Mode, is that UFED Premium can perform its magic with sophisticated algorithms that minimize unlock attempts.
According to Cellebrite, UFED Premium can even unlock iPhones and iPads that are running the latest publicly available version of iOS: iOS 12.3.
UFED and UFED Premium are targeted specifically at law enforcement, which use them to unlock devices that may have been linked to a crime when a suspect is either unable (or unwilling) to provide a passcode or biometric access. Law Enforcement agencies would simply buy UFED Premium and have it on-premises for whenever they need to access a suspect’s smartphone.
However, with this hardware available to law enforcement, there runs the risk that these hacking tools could fall into the wrong hands -- either with the hardware itself being stolen from law enforcement, or unscrupulous police personnel using it for their own personal gains not related to ongoing cases. In fact, some of Cellebrite's iPhone hacking tools have been found for sale on eBay for as little as $100.
In addition to infiltrating iOS devices, Cellebrite brags that UFED Premium can "bypass or determine" locks for any flagship Samsung smartphone, and can "perform a forensically sound physical or full file-system extraction". Cellebrite also says that its hardware supports data extraction from other Android devices including those made by Motorola, Xiaomi, and Huawei.
In other words, almost no device is safe if it lands in the hands of law enforcement today. And now that Cellebrite hardware is finding its way out into the public space, chances are that it won't be long before criminals are using the proprietary techniques developed by the Israeli company to advance their dastardly deeds.