Oops: Anti-Hacking Company Gets Hacked Big Time

There was a fresh reminder Thursday that virtually everyone is vulnerable to hackers -- even a mobile forensics company that's familiar with all of their tricks.

The Israeli firm Cellebrite, known for hacking mobile phones for police agencies around the world, confirmed that it suffered a 900GB data breach.

That's roughly the amount of data contained in 177,000 emails.

The hacker reportedly shared the data with Motherboard, a website that has been exploring whether Cellebrite's rapid phone-cracking technology has been used in questionable ways.

"U.S. law-enforcement agencies have invested heavily in the tech, but Cellebrite may have also sold its wares to authoritarian regimes with abysmal human-rights records, such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, according to a large cache of data obtained by Motherboard," the website said Thursday. "The revelations raise questions around Cellebrite's choice of customers, whether it vets them and what policies, if any, are in place to stop Cellebrite's technology from being used against journalists or activists."

In a statement Thursday, Cellebrite did not address Motherboard's assertions. It instead focused on the breach, saying hackers had hit a "legacy database" and that it had 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."

Cellebrite is just the latest in a string of seemingly cyber-secure companies and institutions that have gotten attacked by hackers. In the United States, the victims include the National Security Agency and the Defense Department.

In December, Yahoo announced that the accounts of...

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