How Mumbai Police Hack Into A Criminal’s Smartphone

Harin - Sep 27, 2019


How Mumbai Police Hack Into A Criminal’s Smartphone

With advanced technology, criminals are getting smarter. This is the device that the Mumbai Police is using to crack into criminals' phones.

With advanced technology, criminals are getting smarter. That’s why law enforcement needs to be one step ahead of them. That means finding out secrets about a criminal’s activity which is often hidden in a device that we use daily.

The smartphones that we use every day are filled with secrets, from the people that we communicate to the things we like or post on social media, and many more. It is the same for a criminal’s smartphone.

So when the police have a suspect, their phone might become the strongest source of evidence. And the Mumbai Police’s cyber-cell has in their hands one amazing weapon that can hack into any phone to extract secrets.

The weapon is known as UFED which comes as a combined kit comprises of software and hardware solution.  The tech is developed by Israel-based Cellebrite which is one of the world’s most well-known smartphone investigation tool providers. The software of Cellebrite can crack open almost any kinds of phones.

cellebrite-software
The software of Cellebrite can crack open almost any kinds of phones.

The kit comes with a complete set of card readers, clone SIM cards, phone cables, and other necessary equipment. Just name the phone and you will find in the kit a compatible cable. The kit has not just the usual micro USB, Lightning, or USB-Type C connectors.

There are even cables for the Ericsson T20 flip phone which was released 20 years ago. Cables for the Nokia data Pop-port are also available.

However, these cables are nowhere ordinary. At the end of the cables, there is a chip which can crack open any software security barriers and gain access to the phone’s data.

The cable works with the software which can be installed on any laptop. Whenever the police connect the phone to the PC, the software activates the cable’s chip and begins the hacking process.

Cellebrite-Cable-Kit
The kit comes with a complete set of card readers, clone SIM cards, phone cables, and other necessary equipment.

Most of the phones today use security methods like as simpler as a passcode, to a more complicated method like fingerprints or facial recognition. But whatever the method is, it is not going to be a big deal for Cellebrite as the hacking process only takes a few hours.

Pelorus, the brand that brought Cellebrite to India for the Mumbai Police, Cellebrite UFED can hack around 60 to 70% of the phones on the market. Whether the phones run on Android or iOS, UFED can crack them all.

After successful hacking into the phone, the software can look into the contact list, caller information, messages, GPS location, etc., which can be useful clues for the police.

Using the UFED, the police can retrieve and bring back to life everything on the phone including deleted files as well as lost files. The files stay on the phone no matter how many hard resets you do.

Cellebrite-hacking-process
Whatever the method is, it is not going to be a big deal for Cellebrite as the hacking process only takes a few hours.

In the UFED kit, there are different gadgets to help connect with the phone even after it is damaged. Once plugging in the cable to the PC, the rest will be taken care of by the software.

Even if the phone runs out of battery, there are crocodile clamps with a USB port that can charge the device temporarily for data retrieving.

However, a phone is completely inaccessible if its IC or motherboard is damaged or destroyed.

After all the data is collected, UFED will generate a comprehensive report to which investigating officers can access. With AI, the software can help Mumbai Police officers search for the evidence they need. For instance, if the police are searching through images for a red car, instead of having to manually search for it, they can simply type in the search directory “red car” and the software will sort the images.

After getting the necessary evidence, a report will be made in accordance with the legal process and submitted to the court of law. Based on the report, the judge will give his judgment.

With more new phones launching every day, Cellebrite continues to work on hacking these phones. It also works on these phones’ software updates if they can pose troubles for the breaching process.

There is an R&D facility of the company in Singapore whose specialty is phones that are extremely hard to hack into.

Cellebrite staff regularly train forensic investigators if there is any new thing added to the hardware and software so that the investigation can go on smoothly.

Only law enforcement agencies can acquire products like Cellebrite UFED.

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