After NSO Group, the maker of spy software Pegasus, another Israeli company Calibrate has come into the limelight. Some Israeli reports claim that Israeli cyber tech firm Calibrate has sold cyber technology products to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and various police units that are at risk of human rights violations. Reports also say that Pakistan’s intelligence and enforcement agencies have been using the product of the infiltrating Israeli firm since 2012, not just now. It states that these deals have taken place despite the two countries not having diplomatic relations and Israel banning such deals.
The cyber product being claimed by Calibrate is named Cellebrite’s Universal Forensics Extraction Device, which is listed on Nasdaq. These enable law enforcement agencies to engage in digital forensic work by hacking password-protected cell phones. In addition, information stored on the device including pictures, documents, text messages, call logs and contacts can be compromised.
Reports suggest that in the year 2020, the export of forensic equipment manufactured by Calibrate came under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense. It was then subsumed into the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Technologies.
The report states that there is a need for surveillance of products with security use and civilian use. International shipment records show that until at least 2019, Calibrate Asia-Pacific Pte (its Singapore subsidiary) sold these products directly to companies in Pakistan and its federal investigative agency.
In 2012, it was reported in Pakistan that police in Sindh province had acquired UFED Touch Ultimate devices made by Calibrate, the report said. He’s been using them ever since. Israeli media outlet Haaretz claimed that a review of operating manuals, records and tenders also showed that police units and the FIA routinely use these systems.
It added that FIA officials even state in their LinkedIn profiles that they have been trained and certified to use these systems. They use them regularly.
In the matter of selling technology to Pakistan, the company Calibrate has argued that it does not sell goods directly or indirectly to Pakistan. However, it declined to elaborate on how its claim tallies with Calibrit-Singapore’s shipment certificate to Pakistan and official tenders in Pakistan. This shows that the investigation agency of Pakistan and the police there use this technique.
In its response, the company has said that it remains committed to its goal of creating a safer world by providing solutions for law enforcement bodies. To that end, we have developed strict monitoring tools that ensure the proper use of our technology in the context of investigations conducted based on law. According to the report, the company’s CEO, Yossi Carmel, says that their products are only sold to police departments and security forces to fight serious crimes, including terrorism.
Explain that the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) is a product of the Israeli forensic firm Cellebrite. The company claims that through this it can unlock any iPhone, iPad and premium Android smartphone. According to the information given on the firm’s website, with the help of UFED, the police can access the app present in any iPhone or Android smartphone and extract the data present in it. Apart from this, the content present in the phone can also be deleted.
The company claims that with the help of UFED, iPhones from iOS 7 to iOS 12.3 can be unlocked. Also, this device can unlock any Android smartphone. The company claims that this device can unlock smartphones from companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, Motorola, LG and Huawei.