Leonardo Fabbretti lost his adopted son, Dama, to bone cancer late last year. The grieving father wanted to see what was on his son’s iPhone 6, but he wasn’t able to access the contents of it. Even though Dama registered his dad’s fingerprint for Touch ID, a restart occurred and required passcode entry — a passcode Fabbretti didn’t know. After months of conversations with Apple support and a letter to Tim Cook, Fabbretti still had no recourse. Dama didn’t use iCloud, so retrieving anything there was useless.
However, after hearing media reports on the story, Israeli mobile forensics company Cellebrite offered to help Fabbretti for free. Anonymous sources have pointed to Cellebrite as the supposed “outside party” the FBI relied on to help break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c, though law enforcement denies it. The company signed its largest contract ever with the FBI on the day the Department of Justice announced it had accessed the contents of the iPhone 5c. Fabbretti said that engineers were able to retrieve the device’s directories, but still need to work on accessing them.
These further developments have shown that Apple will need to bolster the strength of its encryption technology in order to maintain the reputation of its “unhackable” iPhones. And soon. If Cellebrite was indeed the FBI’s source for the iPhone 5c hack, these developments on the iPhone 6 could just as easily be shared if they haven’t been already.
In the meantime, Fabbretti continues to wait to see videos Dama took with his iPhone 6 just three days before he died.
“Why can’t I see his photos or watch his videos or hear his voice? It feels awful,” Fabbretti said.