Apple and security experts in the dark over how the FBI cracked the San Bernardino iPhone

The unlocking of the phone without Apple's assistance leaves a lot of questions unanswered...

Apple and security experts in the dark over how the FBI cracked the San Bernardino iPhone

Julie Jacobson / AP

In the wake of the FBI's hacking of the iPhone 5c used by the gunman who shot 14 people in San Bernardino in December of last year, both Apple and security companies have been left scrambling to work out how US authorities bypassed Apple's security features.

The FBI worked with a third party to access data contained on the phone after Apple refused to co-operate with a court order which obliged the Californian firm to unlock the phone.

Apple representatives have previously said that if the FBI unlocked the phone it would request to be issued details of the procedures used to access its device. However, the US government can retain this method as classified information. US authorities are not required to reveal how the phone was hacked, or which party unlocked the phone.

The Financial Times reports that employees of Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensics company which is known to have worked with the FBI in the past, have claimed credit for the hacking of the phone in private online forums. Shares in Sun Corp, the firm's parent company have rocketed over the past week, increasing by more than 60% in one week.

This hacking raises an obvious problem for Apple, it faces the possibility that there is a security flaw in its software which it is unaware of. The phone was running iOS 9 which was released in September of last year - the latest generation of iPhones have additional security features and it remains unclear if the method used to break the phone's safeguards would work on a newer model.

In its response to the successful extraction of information from the phone, Apple said that it will "continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated."