The FBI abruptly halted its heated case against Apple on Monday, citing a new break-in method from an unnamed “outside source.” In the days since, the security industry has been puzzling over the identity of that mysterious source. But now, the mask is being lifted. Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensic software company, is reportedly helping the FBI get into Syed Farook’s device, according to reports from Reuters and Ynet.
The FBI “has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist’s locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case,” Ynet reports. The Verge reached out to Cellebrite yesterday afternoon for comment and hasn’t yet heard back.
If true, Cellebrite’s role in helping the FBI wouldn’t come as a shock. The company has a sole-source contract with the FBI that it signed in 2013 specifically to help with mobile forensics and data extraction, exactly the task presented by the San Bernardino case. Some also speculated the late-night hack discovery, which came in Sunday evening, was most likely reported by a company in a European or Mediterranean time zone.