GADGETS designed to hack into your iPhone and tech products are being sold on eBay for as little as £60.
The hi-tech equipment – which typically costs thousands of pounds when bought new – is favoured by police and security forces, but can be bought second-hand cheaply online.
eBay / The Sun Cellebrite gadgets can now be bought cheaply online – like this one, which can capture the phonebook of a phone
These “hacking boxes” are tablets designed to crack into your gadgets, bypassing security measures like passwords and PIN locks.
They’re made by an Israeli company called Cellebrite, which targets the military, intelligence services and police forces as customers.
And a Forbes investigation in partnership with cybersecurity expert Matthew Hickey found that the gadgets were being sold for as little as $100 (£75) on eBay.
The Sun also found several Cellebrite devices being sold for under £100 on eBay – with one older device available for just £60.
eBay / The Sun Premium Cellebrite gear can sell for huge sums of money
eBay / The Sun Cellebrite cracking tools come with an array of cables to connect to any device
On Cellebrite’s website, its products are promoted as being able to “unlock a wider range of devices and access more data fast”.
“Easily bypass pattern, password or PIN locks and overcome encryption challenges, giving your team faster time to extraction and analysis,” the company boasts.
“Access live, hidden and even deleted data from smartphones, feature phones, tablets, players, GPS devices, SIM cards, smartwatches, mass storage devices, drones and more.”
Governments having this kind of access to your gadgets may worry some – but rogue hackers and crooks getting their handsets on this tech so cheaply is even more dangerous.
What’s worse, however, is that some of these second-hand devices contained information previously cracked from other gadgets.
Hickey bought a dozen of the Cellebrite devices from eBay, and found that he was able to extract personal information.
A previous owner had “raided” phones from Samsung, LG, ZTE and Motorola, and Hickey managed to get the Cellebrite tech to work on old iPhone and iPod models too.
Some models even contained leftover forensics data from investigations.
“You’d think a forensics device used by law enforcement would be wiped before resale,” Hickey explained.
“The sheer volume of these units appearing online is indicative that some may not be renewing Cellebrite and disposing of the units elsewhere.”
AFP – Getty Leeor Ben-Peretz, a VP at Cellebrite, shows off his firm’s gadget-cracking devices
In response to the Forbes report, Cellebrite has published a letter warning against the re-sale of its gadgets.
“As part of Cellebrite’s inventory control process, we need to ensure that our products are only used by the original owner,” the firm wrote.
“As a reminder, selling or distributing any of your Cellebrite equipment to other organisations is not permitted without written approval from Cellebrite.
“Since it may be possible for these devices to access private information, we ask that you treat any Cellebrite equipment within your organisation with the highest degree of security.
“If you have devices that are no longer in service, we request that you securely destroy the device or return them to Cellebrite for secure destruction.”
AP:Associated Press Apple has closed many loopholes in iPhone security that prevent Cellebrite tools from working on newer models
Cellebrite is in an ongoing battle with Apple to find new ways to crack into the iPhone.
Apple has made a number of changes in recent years to shut out Cellebrite devices, so that rogue hackers can’t crack into your device.
This included closing a security loophole last year with the iOS 12 software update.
“We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal date,” an Apple spokesperson said at the time.
“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”
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