The Cellebrite hacking tool used by law enforcers for pulling data off locked iPhones costs $6,000 new. However, used units are now showing up on eBay for as little as $100 per unit.
That’s a big discount from the full price. And it seems that Cellebrite, a security firm based in Israel, isn’t too happy about it — with very good reason.
The models showing up online are cheaper than the new versions because they do not have the latest software. However, according to a report by Forbes they pose a security threat due to the fact that they can be used to find leftover forensic data. This could be available to hackers in the event that the unit has not been properly wiped. Cellebrite warns customers about reselling units which have not been properly decommissioned in this way.
Unfortunately, it appears that this is what is happening. As a result, buyers could potentially access the devices’ usage usage history, including what types of phones were searched and the type of data pulled from them. Along with, you know, being able to hack certain locked smartphone models!
Apple’s privacy standoff
The Cellebrite unit is designed to be able to find flaws that let it crack the passcodes of multiple smartphones. These include certain devices made by Apple and Google.
Cellebrite’s hardware was first publicized during Apple’s privacy standoff with the FBI. The two sides were battling one another over a federal court order demanding Apple build software to unlock a suspected terrorist’s iPhone. Apple refused to comply with the order — meaning that law enforcement turned to other solutions. Cellebrite was among them.