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Phone hacking business is a victim of hackers

FILE – In this July 18, 2011, file photo, an examiner at an FBI digital forensics lab view data extracted easily from a smartphone, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin, File)

Cellebrite, a digital forensics firm known for helping law enforcement to crack in the locked smartphones, has itself to become the victim of hackers.

Technology news website, system board, said Thursday that he had obtained 900 gigabytes of data relating to the Israel-based company. It said that the wealth of data contains information about the customer, databases and technical data on the products of the company.

Cellebrite released a statement Thursday acknowledging that one of its external web servers had been hacked, adding that the investigation of the extent of the violation.

Motherboard journalist Joseph Cox said that an unknown hacker gave him 900 gigabytes of data from Cellebrite’s servers.

In a series of messages posted on Twitter, he said that most of the data consisted of technical information, the evidence and the log-files, but that some of the information that the customer data. In an article , Cox wrote that the trove included messages from authorities in Russia, Turkey and the Arabian Gulf.

Cellebrite could be in for more unwanted attention. Cox said that the Motherboard would probably do more stories from the data.”

According to Cellebrite, the server in question is included in a database backup of an old license management system. It said the hackers accessed basic user contact information and encrypted passwords for users who have not yet moved to the new system.

While Cellebrite says that it is not aware of any risk to customers as a result of the breach, it is still advise them to change their passwords.

Cellebrite, founded in 1999, has contracts with the FBI dating back to at least 2013. The company makes devices that allow law enforcement to retrieve and decrypt the data, such as contacts, photos, and text messages from more than 15,000 types of smartphones and other mobile devices. It also makes commercial products that companies can use to help their clients transfer data from old phones to new.

The company itself in the spotlight last year after a number of industry observers speculated that it might have helped the FBI to the hacking of the iPhone used by one of the killer in the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting. That phone was the subject of a major legal battle between the FBI and Apple; the company refused to help break the iPhone security. The FBI dropped the case after finding another way into the phone.

Cellebrite claims to do business with thousands of police and secret services, armies and governments in more than 100 countries. But her involvement in the San Bernardino case was never proven.

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