You have contributed 2.2% of this topic
We spend hundreds of hours ensuring you receive a quality service from this site. We do not fall into the advertisement schemes as all the ads contain elements of Haraam including Haraam Islamic links. Please consider setting up a £1 monthly donation. May Allah (swt) reward you.
It only takes a few seconds for an employee of one of the world's leading hacking companies to take a locked smartphone and pull the data from it.
Israeli firm Cellebrite's technology provides a glimpse of a world of possibilities accessible to security agencies globally that worry privacy advocates.
The company has contracts in more than 115 countries, many with governments, and it shot to global prominence in March when it was reported the FBI used its technology to crack the iPhone of one of the jihadist-inspired killers in San Bernardino, California.
There have since been reports that Cellebrite was in fact not involved, and the company itself refuses to comment.
Regardless, it is recognised as one of the world's leaders in such technology.
It can reportedly take a wide range of information off devices: from the content of text messages to potentially details of where a person was at any given moment.
Even messages deleted years before can be potentially retrieved.
"There are many devices that we are the only player in the world that can unlock," Leeor Ben-Peretz, one of the company's top executives, told AFP in English.
But privacy and rights activists worry such powerful technology can wind up in the wrong hands, leading to abuses.
'Cat and mouse'
Cellebrite's technology is not online hacking. It only works when the phone is physically connected to one of the firm's devices.
The company recently demonstrated its capabilities for an AFP journalist.
The password on a phone was disabled and newly taken photos appeared on a computer screen, complete with the exact location and time they were taken.
The phone in the demonstration, an LG G4 run on Google's Android operating system, is a model Cellebrite had already cracked, so the extraction did not take long.
The real challenge, Ben-Peretz agrees, is staying in the lead in a race where phone manufacturers constantly launch new models and update software with ever more complicated security.
In the firm's lab they have 15,000 phones -- with around 150-200 new models added each month.
When a new phone is launched, Ben-Peretz said, their 250-person research team races against competitors to find a chink in its armour, a process that can range from a few days to months.
iPhones present a particular challenge because, unlike many firms, Apple designs everything from the device's hardware to software, making its technology particularly difficult to hack, explained Yong Wang, a professor at Dakota State University in the United States.
Ben-Peretz remains confident his company can crack even the newest iPhones.
"iOS devices have strong security mechanisms that give us a challenge, but if anyone can address this challenge and provide a solution to law enforcement, it is Cellebrite," he said, referring to Apple's operating system.
According to Ben-Peretz, there is no phone on the market that is impossible to crack.
"Yes it is getting harder, it is getting more complex," he said. "But we still deliver results and they are results on the latest devices and latest operating systems."
Among the data the firm claims to be able to access are text messages deleted years previously.
"In some devices even if you would format the device and you would believe the data is deleted, still a significant portion of it exists," Ben-Peretz added.
The company sells its products largely to police and law enforcement agencies across the globe, though also increasingly to private firms doing corporate investigations.
It has seen particularly high growth in Asia, multiple times the 15 percent global growth rate, Ben-Peretz said without providing specific numbers.
Rights groups worry that the technology can be used by dictatorial regimes to abuse peoples' privacy.
"Any company, including Cellebrite, has a responsibility to ensure their business activities don't contribute to or benefit from serious human rights violations," said Sari Bashi, Israel advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
Ben-Peretz said the company vets clients and always respects local laws, but the governments are primarily responsible.
"Take a look at any regime, potential regime around the world: Could you do anything to deprive them from throwing a stone at someone or from driving a car and running over people?
"You can't blame the car manufacturer at that point for delivering a car that was utilised to commit that kind of crime," he said.
Bashi called the comparison misleading as cars are mass-produced.
"A surveillance contract is a bit different. You have a small number of clients and there is an opportunity to ask questions or to ask for a commitment that the technology will not be used for X, Y and Z."
Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise (REIN) and Single Isolated Impulse Noise (SHINE) describe interference that can affect the stability and performance of a Broadband service. In both cases, a power source is generating interference in the frequencies used by the ADSL Broadband service.
REIN is where this interference is generated for the duration of use of an electrical device, and will typically result in disconnections or line errors while the device is in use. At its most extreme, REIN may prevent any connection being established at all.
SHINE is where this interference is generated as a burst – when a device is powered on or off, for example. As a result disconnections or line errors may result at the time a device is switched on or off.
In addition to the disconnections caused by REIN or SHINE you are likely to see a slower speed due to line errors and BT’s automated systems working to counteract the symptoms by restricting the maximum speed you can connect at. Lowering the speed creates a “buffer” to the interference, so it doesn’t cause your connection to drop.
Many electrical devices could be responsible for causing REIN and SHINE that affects your Broadband service. Below is a list of some example sources, however many electrical devices have the potential to cause REIN or SHINE:
In the vast majority of cases, the source of interference will be within your own home or business premises. As a starting point, you should ensure your Broadband equipment is connected to an ADSL filter at the BT Master Socket – the socket through which the telephone line enters your premises. Internal wiring can act as an antenna to interference, so eliminating or reducing the length of internal wiring will do a lot to minimise the effects of REIN or SHINE.
An alternative to switching devices off is to use an AM/MW radio tuned to 612Khz - this video shows you how this method works:
To find the cause of interference is a process of elimination, once you’ve optimised the physical set up of your equipment look for patterns in when problems occur and determine what device is powered on or becomes active at those times. If you can’t locate any single source power off all electrical devices and switch them on one-by-one, monitoring for the symptoms of interference until you find a source.
If no devices in your premises appear to be causing interference then you will need to look further afield. It is possible equipment of your neighbours’ is causing interference, or there could be a source along the route the telephone line takes from the BT exchange to your premises. If this is the case other people are likely to be experiencing the problems too, so noting the times and days this happens will be useful for determining a potential source (e.g. if the cause is a piece of equipment at a business problems may only occur on weekdays when they are open for business).
If the source is external, but can’t be located and eliminated through talking to your own neighbours, then a fault can be reported to BT by us (and your neighbours should make a report to their Broadband providers too). It is important to note that investigations can be complicated and take many months in some cases, and sometimes ultimately the cause cannot be eliminated. This is because the cause will likely be outside of BT’s control and will require specialist engineers to locate it.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.