Apple not only boasts about the security and privacy of iPhones but also trolls its competitor Android for its lack of such features. The company’s claims have now taken a hit, as US forensic detectives have claimed that it's easier to crack an iPhone than an Android device. According to Vice, forensic investigators seem to be doing well in cracking the encryption of iPhones but getting access to an Android phone is becoming more difficult for them.
Detective Rex Kiser, who conducts digital forensic examinations for the Fort Worth Police Department, told Vice, ‘A year ago we couldn’t get into iPhones, but we could get into all the Androids. Now we can’t get into a lot of the Androids.’ The publication says that Cellebrite — one of the companies that government agencies hire to crack smartphones — has a tool that can break into any iPhone (including the iPhone X). When it comes to accessing an Android device, the tool is unable to crack the encryption of prominent handsets.
The tool can extract data from Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. On iPhones, it was reportedly able to extract the above-mentioned data, however, the tool could not extract any social media, internet browsing, or GPS data from devices such as the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9. Reportedly, the software was not able to retrieve anything from the Huawei P20 Pro.
‘Some of the newer operating systems are harder to get data from than others. I think a lot of these [phone] companies are just trying to make it harder for law enforcement to get data from these phones . . . under the guise of consumer privacy,’ Kiser was quoted as saying. However, Vice writes that even if users own smartphones mentioned above or even newer device from those same companies, it doesn’t mean that their handsets are uncrackable.
In such cases, the process of accessing an encrypted smartphone becomes difficult, labour-intensive, and takes up more time and resources. Citing sources, Vice reports that brand new phones, including the iPhone 11 Pro Max, can be cracked.