Israeli firm helping FBI unlock iPhone: report

Israeli firm helping FBI unlock iPhone: report
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The Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite is helping the FBI hack into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

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If the company succeeds, the agency will no longer need the company’s help to break into the phone, the paper reported, citing unnamed sources close to the investigation.

Cellebrite has not responded to the claim, first reported by Reuters.

Apple is currently opposing a court order demanding that it help investigators break into the phone by disabling a key security feature.

But on Monday, the FBI called off the first hearing in the case, saying that a "non-governmental third party" had found a possible method to break into the device without Apple’s help.

The agency said that it was “cautiously optimistic” that it would work.

"We must first test this method to ensure that it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone," a Justice Department spokesperson said. "That is why we asked the court to give us some time to explore this option.”

The development could bring an unexpectedly abrupt end to the tense legal battle over Farook’s phone.

The dispute is seen as a proxy for a larger debate over the degree of access law enforcement agencies should be guaranteed into encrypted communications.