The legal battle between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple over the iPhone belonging one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists might be over.
Cellebrite, an Israeli company that provides mobile forensic software to military and law enforcement, has been working with the FBI to unlock shooter Rizwan Farook's iPhone, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reports.
Last month, the U.S. Justice Department received a court order to force Apple to write new software to override the iPhone's password feature to let the FBI search the smartphone for information about the December 2015 shooting massacre and find possible accomplices.
Apple has vigorously fought against the court order. Tim Cook wrote a letter explaining that if the company writes software to break into Farook's iPhone it would set a dangerous precedent and compromise the privacy of all Apple consumers.
On Monday, a day before Apple was supposed to be in court to fight against the FBI's demands, a federal judge agreed to postpone the hearing after U.S. prosecutors said it found a "third party" that might be able to unlock the encrypted iPhone. The FBI is "cautiously optimistic" that the firm could successfully unlock the encrypted iPhone without help from Apple, the newspaper reports.
Cellebrite, which is owned by the Japanese information and communications company Sun Corp, has been working with the FBI since 2013 to help in criminal investigations. The company sells tools to 90 different intelligence and law enforcement agencies to extract data from smartphones and also helps retailers transfer, erase, and retrieve customer mobile data.
The battle between the FBI and Apple, which became a new focus in the nationwide debate over privacy and surveillance, could come to an end if Cellebrite is successful.
Apple has said that it does not know how to bypass its own security protocols and if the government is successful it would like to know about the exploit.