Mobile Phone
The breach, 900GB in total, reportedly contains customer information and technical data Unsplash

Cellebrite, an Israeli firm that sells sophisticated smartphone-hacking tools used by governments and police departments around the word, has been hacked. The breach, 900GB in total, reportedly contains customer information and "vast" swathes of technical data.

The firm's digital forensics tools are used to crack phone and extract text messages, emails and call logs that can then be used to "accelerate investigations and produce defensible evidence." On its website, Cellebrite claims to serve over 15,000 law enforcement and military users.

The hacked data contains website login usernames and passwords, evidence from mobile phones, logs from Cellebrite devices alongside evidence the firm sold products to authoritarian regimes, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey, according to Motherboard, which first obtained the stolen data.

Referencing the reason for the leak, the hacker told Motherboard's Joseph Cox: "To be honest, had it not been for the recent stance taken by Western governments no-one would have known but us."

In response to the alleged hack, Cellebrite issued a statement claiming an investigation has now been launched that will probe the extent of the breach, which it said was the result of "unauthorised access to an external web server."

The statement continued: "The impacted server included a legacy database backup of my.Cellebrite, the company's end user license management system. The company had previously migrated to a new user accounts system.

"Presently, it is known that the information accessed includes basic contact information of users registered for alerts or notifications on Cellebrite products and hashed passwords for users who have not yet migrated to the new system.

"To date, the company is not aware of any specific increased risk to customers as a result of this incident; however, my.Cellebrite account holders are advised to change their passwords as a precaution.

"Once the investigation of this attack is complete, the company will take any appropriate steps necessary to harden its security posture to mitigate the risk of future breaches. Cellebrite is in the process of notifying affected customers.

"The company is working with relevant authorities regarding this illegal action and are assisting in their investigation."

In March last year, Cellebrite allegedly sold phone-cracking tools to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help the agency break into the device recovered from the possessions of Syed Rizwan Farook, a terrorist responsible for a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.