Tech

The machine that may have cracked the iPhone

Share
VIDEO1:0201:02
Cellebrite may have helped FBI crack iPhone
VIDEO5:4505:45
How secure is your iPhone?
VIDEO1:5801:58
Cellebrite helped the FBI hack the iPhone: NBC News
VIDEO4:2804:28
Apple vs. bears & the FBI

The Israeli company that may have cracked Apple's iPhone on behalf of the FBI isn't confirming that it contributed to the law enforcement agency's investigation of the San Bernardino shooting rampage.

But the company's website is revealing.

Cellebrite co-CEO Yossi Carmil told CNBC on Wednesday that "under no circumstances do we comment on our forensic business clients, ever." He added that the company has a "set of ethics we will never violate."

The FBI, after failing to get Apple to help it crack open the phone of one of the terrorists who killed 14 people on December 2, hacked into the device with an outside technology firm. The Bureau has not named that firm, but industry sources told NBC News that it was Cellebrite that contributed to the effort.

The official seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen on an iPhone's camera screen outside the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters on Feb. 23, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
Apple vs FBI: All you need to know

Cellebrite makes a series of what it calls Universal Forensic Extraction Devices, or UFED. Cellebrite's product is a touch-screen device that taps phones directly for information. Cellebrite also has corporate clients, and its operations aren't limited to data retrieval.

A company brochure claims the company's UFED Touch is capable of extracting data, deleted data including texts and passwords, as well as replicating SIM cards from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, and Microsoft Windows-supported products.

It is unclear whether the device demonstrated on the company's website is the extraction device used by the FBI to crack Syed Farook's phone in California, but a company video does provide a window into how the company works with older iPhones that aren't as encrypted as the more recent devices made by Apple.

Cellebrite is based in Petah Tikvah, just east of Tel Aviv, but has offices elsewhere. Its U.S. headquarters is located in Parsippany, New Jersey. It is owned by a Japanese company, Sun Corporation.

Sun's stock, which trades in Japan, is up 43 percent over the last month.