On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 20+ injured in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino CA. The attack was carried out by radical jihadists against Inland Regional Center, a county Department of Health training facility filled with innocent people celebrating a festive company event.
The terrorists were hunted down and killed in a shoot-out shortly thereafter, and full investigation into the situation ensued. Part of the investigation centered around one of the culprit’s cell phones. Surmising that the cell phone could add valuable information to their investigation, the FBI requested that Apple unlock that one single cell phone so they might harvest clues potentially leading to discovery of terrorist cells or other individuals who might have terrorist ambitions. Apple said no.
A legal battle ensued until Monday, March 21, when the FBI requested postponement of a scheduled hearing. Soon after it became known that the FBI had contracted the services of a “non-governmental third party” to break into the terrorists iPhone. They were successful.
So, who cracked the iPhone code? Let’s answer the question with a question: If security is an issue and you want some of the best technology experts in the world, where would you go to find such a “non-governmental third party?” (You know where this is going!)
Yes, the FBI turned to Israel! No nation on the planet understands security like Israel, and Israel rivals silicon valley in terms of tech development, including cell phones. So, indeed, it was Cellebrite, a world leader in digital forensics…and an Israeli company…with whom the FBI contracted.
I find it interesting that for decades the perception has been that Israel must depend upon the US for their security and safety. I believe what we are seeing these days is a growing American need for what Israel has to offer! Absolutely, the two nations in coalition form a very formidable force, and it is in the best interest of both to continue that joint partnership.
Kudos to Cellebrite and other Israeli companies who are proving to be necessary partners to the US. Let’s pray for continued cooperation between America and Israel.