John McAffee: Israeli Company Helped FBI Unlock San Bernardino Terrorist's iPhone

Cybersecurity expert tells Forbes that contrary to previous reports, the security agency didn't break into data of the San Berardino shooters with the assistance of professional hackers.

Pictures of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, found in Farook's apartment, December 4, 2015.
AFP

An Israeli cybersecurity firm did have something to do with the successful hacking into the phone belonging to the San Bernardino shooters, a global expert told Forbes on Sunday.

Cybersecurity expert John McAfee refuted previous reports that the FBI broke into the cell phone data of the shooters with the assistance of professional hackers, and not by using technology provided by Petah Tikva-based company Cellebrite.

“Do you think the hacking underworld has more information than them (Israeli cybersecurity companies)? The FBI knows this,” McAfee told Forbes. “Rumors are also rampant that Apple did it for them (the FBI). Also false," he added.

Last week the Washington Post reported that professional hackers were able to access the couple's information after discovering a flaw in the iPhone. It had previously been reported that Cellebrite's technology enabled the FBI to break into the cellphone of the husband and wife terrorist couple who shot up a county health department facility in California in December.

Over the past decade Cellebrite has captured a major slice of the mobile forensics market, providing police forces, government agencies and private companies across the world with hardware and software that enable investigators to extract information from most handheld devices, even if the data has been encrypted or deleted.