A Former Apple Security Engineer’s Company Will Unlock Your iPhone X—for $15,000
A new company has emerged that claims to be able to unlock any iPhone. And this one might be run by a former Apple security engineer.
The company, called Grayshift, has released marketing materials to police and forensics organizations promising to unlock iPhones with its GrayKey tool, according to Forbes, which obtained a copy of those materials. GrayKey will cost law enforcement $15,000 for 300 uses. Those that want to be able to unlock iPhones an unlimited number of times will need to pay $30,000.
After receiving the documents, Forbes dug into the people behind Grayshift. Although it was difficult to arrive at conclusions, since the company has remained silent and its employees kept as secretive as possible, the publication believes that at least one former Apple security engineer works at the company. In fact, two former security engineers are listed as principals at Grayshift—a title often used to describe owners.
Shadowy companies are standard fare in the security world, where hacking—for both good and bad purposes—requires significant behind-the-scenes work. Apple’s iPhones are notoriously difficult to crack and have become a source of complication and concern for law enforcement agencies attempting to investigate a case.
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Since a user’s iPhone data is safeguarded by a variety of protections and encryption, law enforcement will often need the subject of an investigation to cooperate and give them access to his or her data. When that doesn’t happen, law enforcement can often times be left in the dark if officials don’t have a way to break into an iPhone to spy on data. Law enforcement officials have decried the security protections in iPhones and other handsets, but Apple and rights advocates argue every individual has a right to privacy.
Companies that can crack iPhones and sell their techniques to law enforcement, however, stand to make a significant sum. If Grayshift has indeed found a way to unlock iPhones, the company could stand to generate significant revenue selling the exploit to law enforcement.
According to Forbes‘ investigation, Grayshift has designed ads that promise to unlock iPhones running iOS 10 and iOS 11, the latest two mobile Apple operating systems. The company is promising to be able to crack iPhones running iOS 9 in the near future. On the hardware front, Grayshift said that its GrayKey technology will work on every major iPhone release, including the iPhone 8 and iPhone X Apple released last year. The publication’s unidentified source also said that he or she had seen GrayKey in action and was able to unlock a locked iPhone X.
The revelation comes just days after another security company, Cellebrite, announced that it could unlock the latest Apple handsets, including iPhone X.
Apple did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on the report.