Posts Tagged ‘physical acquisition’

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…)

Physical Acquisition for 64-bit Devices, iOS 9 Support

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Big news! iOS Forensic Toolkit receives its first major update. And it’s a big one. Not only does version 2.0 bring support for iOS 9 handys. We also expanded acquisition support for jailbroken devices, enabling limited data extraction from jailbroken devices locked with an unknown passcode.

Last but not least. For the first time ever, we’ve added physical acquisition support for 64-bit devices! We’ve done what was long considered to be impossible. Intrigued? Read along to find out! Can’t wait to see what can be done to 64-bit iDevices? Skip right to that section!

New in EIFT 2.0

  • iOS 9: Full physical acquisition support of jailbroken 32-bit devices running iOS 9
  • 64-bit: Physical acquisition for jailbroken 64-bit devices running any version of iOS
  • Locked: Limited acquisition support for jailbroken 32-bit and 64-bit iOS devices that are locked with an unknown passcode and cannot be unlocked

It’s probably a bit too much for a modest one-digit version bump… we should’ve named this version 3.0! (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.


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:
  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.


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”.


The New Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Soon after releasing the updated version of iOS Forensic Toolkit we started receiving questions about the new product. Did we really break iPhone 5? Does it truly work? Are there limitations, and what can you do about them? We decided to assemble all these questions into a small FAQ. If you’d rather read the full, more technical version of this FAQ, visit the following page instead: Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit FAQ. Those with non-technical background please read along.