Archive for the ‘Legal Questions’ Category

Acquiring 64-bit Apple Devices

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Last week we released the second version of Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit, our physical acquisition tool for iPhones and iPads. For the first time ever, the toolkit comes with the ability to acquire information from jailbroken 64-bit iPhones such as Apple iPhone 5S, 6/6S/Plus, and 64-bit iPads including iPad mini 2-4, iPad Air/Air2 and iPad Pro.

The 64-bit acquisition process differs significantly from the old methods we used to extract data from 32-bit devices. The new method is backward compatible with 32-bit iPhones and iPads; however, if you have a choice, we recommend sticking with the old and proven acquisition routine if you’ve got a 32-bit iPhone to extract.

Important note: a working jailbreak is absolutely mandatory for the new acquisition process to work.

If you don’t want the theory, you may skip directly to the step-by-step guide to physical acquisition for 64-bit devices. (more…)

Extracting Data from Locked iPhones

Friday, November 13th, 2015

With hardware-backed full-disk encryption and additional protection of sensitive user data located in the keychain, Apple iOS is the most secure mobile operating system out there. Acquisition approaches that are traditional for Android and Windows Phone devices (namely, JTAG, ISP and chip-off) are completely meaningless for iOS devices running even years-old generations of the system. Bypassing screen lock password (passcode) has also been long considered to be useless due to the fact user data stored in the keychain is additionally encrypted with a secure key based on the passcode.

While we can’t do much with the former, our recent research shows that the latter is not entirely true. Bypassing the passcode does reveal quite a bit of information that can be useful for an investigation. And this is not just a theoretical research. We are building this functionality into a ready-to-use commercial tool, iOS Forensic Toolkit, to allow extracting data from locked iDevices – providing they have a jailbreak installed. The tool will allow pull available information from devices locked with an unknown passcode. That includes devices that were powered on (or rebooted) and never unlocked. Naturally, a pre-installed jailbreak is required in order to access the data.


Apple’s Take on Government Surveillance: On Its Customers’ Side

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Everyone must comply with government requests to disclose information. How far should one go when disclosing such information? This is up to the company. In a recent trend, several big IT companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft among others teamed up to propose a change in US legislatures concerning governments spying on its citizens. The reform would make government surveillance “consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight”.


‘Casual and Secure’ Friday Post

Friday, May 14th, 2010

German law has always been strict about any possible security breaches. This week German court ordered that anyone using wireless networks should protect them with a password so the third party could not download data illegally.  

However, there is no order that users have to change their Wi-Fi passwords regularly, the only requirement being to set up a password on the initial stage of wireless access installation and configuration.

I’ve conducted a mini-research here in Russia. There are 5 wireless networks in range that my computer finds when at home. Although all of the networks have rather bizarre names, they are all WPA- or WPA2-protected. My guess is that people do not install wireless access at home by themselves or browse the Internet for instructions and find some on protection and passwords. At the same time, I often come across unprotected networks in Moscow and I do use them to check my Twitter account. It is obvious that to make any conclusions, one has to dive into this topic much more deeply.

What I learnt working for ElcomSoft – the company that recovers passwords and does it very well – is the following: sometimes a password is not enough. You need a good password to make sure your data is protected. WPA requires using passwords that are at least 8 characters long. Such length guarantees quite good protection. The problem as usual is the human factor. We still use admin123 and the like to protect our networks.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help you check how strong your WPA/WPA2-password is. One of such tools is Wireless Security Auditor. It makes use of various hardware for password recovery acceleration and a set of customizable dictionary attacks. The idea is simple: if this monster does not find your WPA/WPA2-password, then it is secure :)

Nice weekend to all.

Encryption and decryption from security law perspective (Part II)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

In my previous post I suggested several variants of computer security translated by different laws. Now I’d like to get to ciphers…again viewed by law.

So, how does the law see encryption and decryption issues through glasses of security standard? First of all, it says there simply should be encryption/decryption tools available.

ENCRYTION AND DECRYPTION (A) – § 164.312(a)(2)(iv)
Where this implementation specification is a reasonable and appropriate safeguard for a covered entity, the covered entity must:
“Implement a mechanism to encrypt and decrypt electronic protected health information.”


Reasonable, appropriate, adequate…security (Part I)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Most laws define security obligations as reasonable, appropriate, suitable, necessary, adequate etc. without giving more precise directives to follow. Is it good or bad? And what should be known about these standards?

Let’s see what major security standards say about recommended security measures.


Password Recovery Tools Are Legal In Germany

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

 When we meet our customers at trade fairs in Germany, we are always asked questions about legality of our tools. The reason for this is that German law on so-called “hacking tools” is very strict. At the same time the wording of the respective paragraphs is unclear and ambiguous.

On Friday, German Federal Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint of an entrepreneur that production and distribution of tools for capturing traffic data is against the law. The judges said that the constitutional rights are not violated by the use of “hacking tools” (§202a-202b). According to the court decision, legal penalty applies only in the case when the software was developed with illegal intent in mind. “Double-purpose” tools that are designed to be used by law enforcement and IT security officers are not regarded illegal.

Special thanks for Florian Hohenauer for sending us the link.