The U.S. government’s contracts and use of the Russian-origin password-cracking software produced by the Moscow-based company called Elcomsoft is raising security concerns among some U.S. officials and security experts.
The company was founded by Alexander Katalov, who stated in a 2001 online interview that he once “studied at the highest school of the KGB,” the Soviet-era political police and intelligence service. He also said the FBI “on many occasions” purchased forensic software programs from Elcomsoft.
Password-breaking software was used by the FBI to access the locked iPhone of the Islamist terrorist Syed Farook, who carried out the Dec. 2 shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. News reports have said an Israeli security firm helped the bureau hack the iPhone 5s that was owned by a local government agency that had employed Farook.