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Cellebrite: Decoding mobile data, CSI Style

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 21, 2013
Zafar Anjum spends some time with Dave Golding, GM of Cellebrite APAC to learn about the unique offerings of his company in the cellphone retail and diagnostics areas

Generally speaking as well, although many of our distributors want to sell both products, we try not to do it, because obviously if you have a problem with your forensic distributor, who is also your cellular distributor, then you have lost your whole business. But the main reason is because it is a totally different area, and it is doing something completely different. A lot of the stuff that we have are forensic capabilities, which again, a basic forensic capability is to extract everything that you have on your phone.

A lot of forensic capabilities that we have could be, potentially, very attractive on the cellular side as well. To give you an example, we can extract passwords, so you think that you have a password on an iPhone, nobody can get into your phone, you have a password, we can bypass that. Now, the reason why we would not sell that to the cellular operator, although he might be interested in having it, is because we are not too sue if the cellular operator - I mentioned to you before - is interested or wants his customers to know that he has that capability. There are a lot of issues that we can do on the forensic side.

We do not particularly want to mix with the cellular side, and we have a lot of other capabilities. For example, on the forensic side, we can take a phone which has got a broken screen and it is not working and we can power it up externally, and we can extract everything. But again, it is different. Our extraction methods there, again, it is not the same as, say, finding this phone, extracting everything, and then giving you back all your contacts, or reinstalling. We cannot do that, but what we can do is we can take the phone, we can extract everything, all the binary files, and even the stuff that you think you have deleted, and then later decode it, so it is in two separate phases.

That is why the two parts of the business are completely separate, but again, the forensic is a very big niche market. One of these things where it does not matter if you are selling in Asia-Pacific or Western Europe or North America or Africa. The need is self-apparent. It is clear. Basically, whenever you go to the police in whatever country and you explain that you have these capabilities, it lights up a big light. Obviously, each market has its own laws, and its own limitations. For example, in Scandinavia, in order to extract some of the information from some of these phones, you need a court order.


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