US authorities can hack iPhone, but may have difficulties with Android

Authorities can hack iPhone

Although the US authorities are persistent in waging a “cryptographic war” with technology companies, demanding weakening of encryption, they already have technical tools for cracking any phone. For example, US authorities can certainly hack any iPhone.

Firstly, law enforcement agencies are successfully using forensic tools for mobile devices (for example, the FBI managed to crack the iPhone 11 Pro Max using the GrayKey tool).

Secondly, as demonstrated results of a series of tests conducted by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) over the past year, the manufacturers of these tools have been very successful in reverse engineering of smartphones.

“During the study, NIST experts tested the tools manufactured by Cellebrite, Grayshift and MSAB. Recall that in 2019 Cellebrite updated its premium tool for breaking encryption of iOS and Android UFED devices”, – reports NIST.

As NIST studies show, the current version of UFED 4PC allows receiving GPS coordinates, messages, call logs and contacts from iPhone X and from almost all earlier models. Researchers have also been able partially retrieve data from Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Against newer iPhone models, the tool was mostly useless.

It is noteworthy that UFED 4PC copes with Android devices much worse than with the iPhone. For example, the tool was not able to extract social network data, GPS and browser history from Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9. In addition, UFED was unable to access messages on the Ellipsis 8 and Galaxy Tab S2 tablets. With the Huawei P20 Pro, the tool does not work at all.

“Now we can hack the iPhone. A year ago, we could not hack the iPhone, but we were able to deal with all Android devices. Now we cannot hack many Android devices”, – told Motherboard reporters detective Rex Kieser.

According to Kieser, Cellebrite is currently the market leader in mobile hacking tools (with the exception of the iPhone). The main provider of iPhone hacking tools is Grayshift. Its tool GrayKey costs as much as $15-30 thousand and can crack encryption on any iPhone.

Well, some states release special applications to monitor their citizens, while other governments hire hackers to maintain cyber war with both external and internal enemies. It is your decision which side you take and what should be a priority: control and a promise of security from the state or confidentiality. As you see, there is practically no protection against targeted hacking, but just in case, check your devices with Gridinsoft products, maybe you are already being watched, probably not by the state, but by some amateur hacker.

By Vladimir Krasnogolovy

Vladimir is a technical specialist who loves giving qualified advices and tips on GridinSoft's products. He's available 24/7 to assist you in any question regarding internet security.

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