PETAH TIKVAH, Israel, June 5 (Reuters) - Israel's Cellebrite has seen a huge jump in sales of its mobile forensic technology as smartphones have become an increasingly vital tool for investigators in solving crimes across the world.
A deleted picture or text message can often be key to a case - whether for police detectives or bank auditors - and the ability to extract and analyze the data could prove a suspect's innocence or guilt, said Yossi Carmil, corporate co-chief executive.
Cellebrite, a fully owned subsidiary of Japan's Sun Corp , developed a system it says can do just that - retrieve data hidden deep inside nearly all mobile devices on the market.
And with people becoming more dependent on their smartphones, which have in turn become more sophisticated, Cellebrite is playing a "more and more significant" role for Sun Corp, Carmil said.
The company's forensic department saw an average 25-30 percent growth for three straight years.
It controls a major portion of the global forensics market, which in total Carmil estimated is over $150 million but will exceed $1 billion within a decade, as the field broadens and new technologies are introduced.
Cellebrite also sells products to retailers and cellular operators that back up and transfer data and can quickly diagnose problems on a phone. About 150,000 shops worldwide use these devices, and it brings in a bit less revenue than the forensics business, Carmil said.
"Ten years ago someone would have to sit and physically scroll through the phone. If you had erased a message, it was gone," Carmil said. "But like in computers, even if you delete something, it is actually still there on the smartphone."
"Our system can retrieve it. This is harder to do than with computers since there are so many systems and devices," he said.
Leeor Ben-Peretz, vice president of products, said a key advantage for Cellebrite is its speed to market in supporting new phones and its coverage of a wide range of operating systems and devices, including those with higher levels of encryption and protection. (Editing by Tova Cohen)