Law enforcement tool paves way for full data extraction on iPhones

Israeli developer claims its UFED Premium tool can also crack flagship Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9

Law enforcement agencies will soon have access to a tool that can breach a raft of the latest flagship smartphones including the most recently-launched iPhone models.

Using a newly launched tool, developed by data extraction firm Cellebrite, organisations like the FBI and MI5 will be able to breach any iOS device and a host of high-end Android handsets.

At a time where tech manufacturers are placing a greater emphasis on user privacy, the UFED Premium tool can be used to perform full file system extractions on their flagship devices.

Law enforcement agencies can then gain access to third-party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, as well as deleted content. Moreover, the tool's developers promise to "increase your chances of finding the incriminating evidence and bringing your case to a resolution".

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Smartphones vulnerable to UFED Premium include the Samsung Galaxy S6 through to S9 models, as well as "popular device models" from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi. The tool also supports all Apple devices running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3.

With UFED Premium, law enforcement agencies can determine passcodes and perform unlocks for all Apple devices, as well as make use of sophisticated algorithms to minimise unlock attempts. Android devices, similarly, can be bypassed with ease, with users then accessing unallocated data to maximise the chances of recovering deleted items.

As an 'on-premise' tool, law enforcement officers can use the UFED Premium to extract data and infer results without the need to use any additional Cellebrite services, meaning it can be deployed at their discretion. 

But the company has given clients the option of using in-house services, provided by certified forensic experts, to gain access to evidence from locked, encrypted or damaged devices using in-lab only techniques.

Apple and other smartphone manufacturers have begun placing a much greater emphasis on user privacy and information security in their marketing to consumers. This has come at a time where the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) hit mainstream consciousness, and large-scale data breaches regularly populate newspaper headlines.

The likes of Facebook and Google, for example, have also come under heavy public scrutiny for allegations of disregarding user privacy, the former in particular given the scale of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Manufacturers, therefore, are unlikely to approve of a tool that can be harnessed to break a fundamental component of their sell to the market. The conflict this could spark between tech giants and governments bears similarity to that which exists over end-to-end encryption.

The UK government, in particular, has been especially vocal about the need for tech giants to compromise the absolute privacy that end-to-end encryption offers. This is because, as politicians and law enforcement agencies argue, this allows criminals to organise freely through social networks, such as WhatsApp, that use encryption.

Featured Resources

Digital Risk Report 2020

A global view into the impact of digital transformation on risk and security management

Download now

6 ways your business could suffer if you don’t backup Office 365

Office 365 makes it easy to lose valuable data regularly, unpredictably, unintentionally, and for good

Download now

Get the best out of your workforce

7 steps to unleashing their true potential with robotic process automation

Download now

8 digital best practices for IT professionals

Don't leave anything to chance when going digital

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/28299/how-to-use-chromecast-without-wi-fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/354827/mcafee-researchers-trick-tesla-autopilot-with-a-strip-of-tape
cyber security

McAfee researchers trick Tesla autopilot with a strip of tape

21 Feb 2020
Visit/operating-systems/27717/how-to-fix-a-stuck-windows-10-update
operating systems

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

12 Feb 2020
Visit/security/34616/the-top-ten-password-cracking-techniques-used-by-hackers
Security

The top ten password-cracking techniques used by hackers

10 Feb 2020