Feds are constantly on the back foot in the race to crack encryption, but with modern Google Android devices they’re making significant advances, allowing them to bypass the passcodes of Samsung and HTC cellphones, as revealed in a just-unsealed search warrant.
The warrant details a child abuse investigation, in which a suspect’s Samsung S7 and unspecified HTC model were seized. The cops said that “in or about August 2016” a forensic analyst found a way to bypass the lock on the Samsung device, “but was able to extract only limited data.” That included “eleven video files depicting child pornography including one with bestiality,” the warrant read.
The cops now appear to have overcome the limitations of that previous hack, according to the warrant, which was filed on September 8. That’s thanks to “innovations in software which enable an examiner to bypass the locking feature of the Subject Telephone and perform a full extraction.” That should allow for a fuller analysis of the device, the warrant noted. It didn’t say what software was helping them.