Posts Tagged ‘iOS’

Why Do We Need Physical Acquisition?

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

With all the trouble of jailbreaking iOS 8 devices and the lack of support for 64-bit hardware, does iOS physical acquisition still present meaningful benefits to the investigator? Is it still worth your time and effort attempting to acquire that iPhone via a Lightning cord?

Granted, jailbroken iOS devices are rare as hen’s teeth. You are very unlikely to see one in the wild. However, we strongly believe that physical acquisition still plays an important role in the lab, and here are the reasons why.

  1. Apple’s current privacy policy explicitly denies government information requests if the device in question is running iOS 8. This means that handing over the device to Apple will no longer result in receiving its full image if the device is running iOS 8.x (source: https://www.apple.com/privacy/government-information-requests/)
  2. In many countries (Mexico, Brazil, Russia, East Europe etc.) Apple sells more 32-bit phones than 64-bit ones. Old iPhones traded in the US are refurbished and sold to consumers in other countries (BrightStar coordinates these operations for Apple in the US). As an example, new and refurbished iPhone 4S and 5 units accounted for some 46% of all iPhones sold through retail channels in Russia in Q1 2015.
  3. Physical extraction returns significantly more information compared to any other acquisition method including logical or over-the-air acquisition. In particular, we’re talking about downloaded mail and full application data including logs and cache files (especially those related to Internet activities). A lot of this information never makes it into backups.
  4. Full keychain extraction is only available with physical acquisition. Physical is the only way to fully decrypting the keychain including those records encrypted with device-specific keys. Those keychain items can be extracted from a backup file, but cannot be decrypted without a device-specific key. In addition, the keychain often contains the user’s Apple ID password.
  5. With physical acquisition, you can extract the ‘securityd’ (0x835) from the device. This key can be used to completely decrypt all keychain items from iCloud backups.
  6. Physical acquisition produces a standard DMG disk image with HFS+ file system. You can mount the image into the system and use a wider range of mobile forensic tools to analyze compared to iTunes or iCloud backup files.

At this time, Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit remains the only third-party forensic tool to perform physical acquisition of iPhone 4S, 5 and 5C.

Limitations of Physical Acquisition

Apple makes their platform increasingly secure with each generation of hardware and every version of iOS. Apple devices equipped with 64-bit hardware are not susceptible to physical acquisition. Since the overwhelming majority of iOS devices sold in the US through retail channels are already equipped with 64-bit hardware, the number of handsets equipped with 32-bit chips is rapidly declining. The opposite is true for many developing markets where old-generation devices oversell latest hardware.

When it comes to iOS 8, physical acquisition is only available to jailbroken devices. At this time, jailbreak is available for all current versions of iOS 8 up to and including iOS 8.3.

eift128_ios83

As a result, physical acquisition has the following limitations:

  1. Only 32-bit hardware is supported *
  2. iOS 8 devices must be jailbroken in order to perform physical acquisition.
  3. Jailbreaking is not as reliable and straightforward as we’d like it to be.
  4. You can’t jailbreak a locked device if you don’t know the passcode.
  5. Find My Phone must be disabled before installing jailbreak. If Find My Phone is on, you must enter the user’s Apple ID password to turn it off.
  6. In order to perform physical acquisition of a jailbroken device, you’ll need to manually install OpenSSH from Cydia.
  7. At this time, only TaiG jailbreak is supported for the purpose of physical acquisition (http://www.taig.com/en/)

* 64-bit devices are still not supported regardless of iOS version or jailbreak status. For the purpose of physical acquisition, the following compatibility matrix applies.

Supported:

  • iPhone 4S, 5, 5C
  • iPod Touch (5th gen)
  • iPad 2 through 4
  • iPad mini (original)

NOT supported:

  • iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini Retina, iPad mini 3

Conclusion

Even with all limitations of physical acquisition, the method still remains viable in many situations. Some countries still see more 32-bit Apple devices than 64-bit ones, with Apple refurbished devices (trade-ins from the US) pushed by the company as a cheap entry into the ecosystem. Since Apple no longer serves government information requests for devices running iOS 8, physical acquisition remains the only method to extract the full file system from the device, returning more information than any other acquisition method.

Supporting Apple iCloud Drive and Decrypting Keychains from iCloud

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

As you may already know from our official announcement, we’ve recently updated Elcomsoft Phone Breaker to support Apple accounts upgraded to iCloud Drive and decrypting keychains from iCloud. Considering that one can access files stored in iCloud Drive without any third-party tools, is the update really worth the buzz? Read along to find out!

Before getting to the updated technology, let’s have a look at what Apple iCloud Drive is, and how it’s different from “classic” iCloud. (more…)

Meet all new Learning iOS Forensics practical guide

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Learning iOS Forensics

Nowadays, computer data is everywhere around and it’s growing at amazing speeds from hour to hour. It’s really fast, easy and convenient to stay active online day and night. No matter how easy it may be for the user, for computer crime investigators, on the contrary, it is the toughest challenge to collect and decrypt digital evidence. Even more important for them is to be able to evaluate a particular situation and understand what exactly they can collect, where it may be stored, how quickly and effectively they can get hands on it leaving the data intact and authentic in order to keep it still useful and trustworthy in court.

The crime scene has also moved or better to say spread from computers to mobile devices that can not only “carry” but also produce, process and transfer valuable information among other mobile devices or even into the cloud. This introduces another big challenge, which is tracing a connection between various electronic devices, collecting necessary information from them and gathering evidence into one case.

A successful completion of the investigation requires a well thought-out and structured incident response scenario and a whole arsenal of tools, techniques and methods at hand that could be implemented quickly and effectively.

In the book by Mattia Epifani and Pasquale Stirparo you will find answers and guidelines to most of your questions in the field of mobile forensics in a very consistent and explicit manner. It also collects and exemplifies all useful tools on the market, including our key mobile forensics instruments Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit, Elcomsoft Phone Breaker and Elcomsoft Phone Viewer. We highly recommend Learning iOS Forensics guide with heavy emphasis on its practical side.

Sanderson SQLite Forensic Toolkit on a Mac OS X using CrossOver

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Revision 1 of this article was initially published on January 6, 2015 on Sanderson Forensics Forum: http://sandersonforensics.com/forum/entry.php?19-Sanderson-SQLite-Forensic-Toolkit-on-a-Mac-OS-X-using-CrossOver.

In Revision 2, I have added a small section, to highlight the importance of understanding SQLite databases and using SQLite tools in order to analyze the information contained within SQLite database files.

This article is related to running Sanderson SQLite Forensic Toolkit on a Mac OS X system. I apologize in advance for the lengthy read but please take the time to read everything and understand the concepts. I had to peruse the CrossOver wiki and support areas in order to understand what needed to be accomplished for unsupported applications to work. (more…)

I’ve Got the iTunes Backup from the iCloud. What Shall I Do Now?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

This is the second part of Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker Enhances iCloud Forensics and Speeds Up Investigations article.

Extracting the content of an iPhone is only half the job. Recovering meaningful information from raw data is yet another matter. The good news is there are plenty of powerful tools providing iOS analytics. The bad news? You’re about to spend a lot of time analyzing the files and documenting the findings. Depending on the purpose of your investigation, your budget and your level of expertise using forensic tools, you may want using one tool or the other. Let’s see what’s available.

(more…)

Explaining that new iCloud feature

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

It’s been almost two weeks since we have released updated version of Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker that is capable of downloading backups from the iCloud and we have seen very diverse feedback ever since. Reading through some articles or forum threads it became quite evident that many just do not understand what we have actually done and what are the implications. So I am taking another try to clarify things.

(more…)

New Features in EPPB

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

When it comes to adding new features to our products we try to focus on our customers’ needs and it is my pleasure today to announce a preview (or beta) version of our Phone Password Breaker tool with new features requested (or inspired) by our valued customers users :)

Here’s the wrap-up of new features.

(more…)

Newer iOS Forensic Toolkit Acquires iPhones in 20 Minutes, Including iOS 5

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

iOS 5 Support

When developing the iOS 5 compatible version of iOS Forensic Toolkit, we found the freshened encryption to be only tweaked up a bit, with the exception of keychain encryption. The encryption algorithm protecting keychain items such as Web site and email passwords has been changed completely. In addition, escrow keybag now becomes useless to a forensic specialist. Without knowing the original device passcode, escrow keys remain inaccessible even if they are physically available.

What does enhanced security mean for the user? With iOS 5, they are getting a bit more security. Their keychain items such as Web site, email and certain application passwords will remain secure even if their phone falls into the hands of a forensic specialist. That, of course, will only last till the moment investigators obtain the original device passcode, which is only a matter of time if a tool such as iOS Forensic Toolkit is used to recover one.

What does this mean for the forensics? Bad news first: without knowing or recovering the original device passcode, some of the keychain items will not be decryptable. These items include Web site passwords stored in Safari browser, email passwords, and some application passwords.

Now the good news: iOS Forensic Toolkit can still recover the original plain-text device passcode, and it is still possible to obtain escrow keys from any iTunes equipped computer the iOS device in question has been ever synced or connected to. Once the passcode is recovered, iOS Forensic Toolkit will decrypt everything from the keychain. If there’s no time to recover the passcode or escrow keys, the Toolkit will still do its best and decrypt some of the keychain items.

Faster Operation

Besides adding support for the latest iOS 5, Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit becomes 2 to 2.5 times faster to acquire iOS devices. When it required 40 to 60 minutes before, the new version will take only 20 minutes. For example, the updated iOS Forensic Toolkit can acquire a 16-Gb iPhone 4 in about 20 minutes, or a 32-Gb version in 40 minutes.

Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit highlighted in SANS Information Security Reading Room

Monday, August 15th, 2011

SANS Information Security Reading Room has recently publicized a whitepaper about iOS security where they mentioned our software – Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit – in a section about encryption. Kiel Thomas, the author of the whitepaper, explained one more time the main principles of iOS 4 encryption, which became stronger in comparison with iOS 3.x and how our toolkit can bypass new strong algorithms.

In its next part about iTunes Backups Kiel touches upon Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker which virtually crunches backup passwords at speed of 35000 passwords per second (with AMD Radeon HD 5970) using both brute force and dictionary attacks, here are some benchmarks.

It seems the paper does not miss out on any nuance about iOS 4 and provides practical advice to either avoid or prevent from the depressing outcomes, such as loss of data. Closer to the end of the paper you will also find several sagacious tips for using the devices within organizations, including passcode management, a so called “first line of defense” which according Kiel’s view “can be matched to existing password policies”, however he inclines to use passwords instead of 4 digit passcodes.

And in conclusion the author discovers that smartphone and tablet security measurements resemble the ones of laptops, because they all belong to mobile devices.  Find out more details in the source itself: http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/pda/security-implications-ios_33724
 

iOS Forensic Toolkit: Keychain Decryption, Logical Acquisition, iOS 4.3.4, and Other Goodies

Monday, July 25th, 2011
 
You might have heard about our new product – iOS Forensic Toolkit. In fact, if you are involved in mobile phone and smartphone forensics, you almost certainly have. In case our previous announcements haven’t reached you, iOS Forensic Toolkit is a set of tools designed to perform physical acquisition of iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch devices and decrypt the resulting images. This decryption capability is unique and allows one to obtain a fully usable image of the device’s file system with the contents of each and every file decrypted and available for analysis. And the fact is, with today’s update, iOS Forensic Toolkit is much more than just that.
 
(more…)