Criminal Lawyers Beware! – Cellebrite downloads can be compromised

Cellebrite downloads of mobile phones are front and centre of criminal prosecutions in Queensland and throughout Australia.  Even half complex criminal cases are dependent on them.

Recently the Guardian newspaper and the tech publication Gizmodo reported that Signal, the world’s most encrypted app, claimed Cellebrite software is exposed and the data can be manipulated.

Cellebrite’s main feature is an extraction device which allows law enforcement agencies to download data from seized phones.

Among the Cellebrite flaws revealed by Signal is one that allows hackers to not just access Cellebrite software but also to manipulate the data thereby making it possible to change the evidence contained in the Cellebrite download.

These recent warnings about Cellebrite vulnerabilities could have significant ramifications for the widespread law enforcement practice of using Cellebrite downloads as evidence in criminal cases.

If it is possible to break into Cellebrite software and alter the data police are collecting how certain can it be for criminal lawyers that the Cellebrite evidence produced in Court has not been the subject of tampering and falsification of evidence?

What will be the legal ramifications for the high number of cases in Australia that hinge on Cellebrite software if its security is able to be breached?

Robertson O’Gorman has long adopted a rigorous and sceptical attitude to technical and scientific evidence in Prosecution briefs in criminal cases. That sceptical attitude will be maintained in this firm’s work in light of the worrying suggestion that Cellebrite evidence can be compromised.