Australian security firm Azimuth has been identified as the experts who managed to crack a mass shooter’s iPhone that was at the center of an encryption standoff between the FBI and Apple.
Until this week it had largely been assumed that Israeli outfit Cellebrite was hired to forcibly unlock an encrypted iPhone 5C used by Syed Farook – who in 2015 shot and killed colleagues at a work event in San Bernardino, California, claiming inspiration from ISIS.
Efforts by law enforcement to unlock and pore over Farook’s phone were unsuccessful, leading to the FBI taking Apple to court to force it to crack its own software to reveal the device’s contents. The Feds got an order from a judge instructing Apple to effectively break its own security to give agents access to the locked and encrypted handset.
But Apple heavily and publicly resisted, leading to a legal showdown that resulted in increasing alarm in the technology industry. Before the courts were forced to resolve the issue of access to encrypted data, however, the FBI announced it had found a way into the phone and dropped the case.
It later emerged the Feds had paid $900,000 to get into the phone… which had nothing of value on it. That isn’t too surprising since it was Farook’s work phone, after all.