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Two vendors now sell iPhone cracking technology – and police are buying

Law enforcement interest in iPhone encryption-cracking hardware from two new companies is a strong indication that Apple no longer claims the mobile security high ground.

“What this means, if it’s true, is that people who thought all of their communications were totally secure shouldn’t feel so confident going forward,” said Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. “But, then security has always been a tug of war between the ones implementing it and the ones trying to break it.”

In February, reports surfaced that an Israel-based technology vendor, Cellebrite, had discovered a way to unlock encrypted iPhones running iOS 11 and were marketing the product to law enforcement and private forensics firms around the world. According to a police warrant obtained by Forbes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had been testing the technology.

Shortly thereafter, Grayshift emerged as a different company that had developed an inexpensive black box that could unlock any iPhone; this week Motherboard reported that local and regional U.S. police departments and the federal government have been purchasing the technology.

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