iOS vs. Android: Physical Data Extraction and Data Protection Compared

October 20th, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

Today’s mobile devices are getting increasingly more resistant to physical imaging, mostly due to the use of full-disk encryption. Full-disk encryption makes useless some low-level acquisition techniques of yesterday, which includes JTAG and chip-off.

iOS was using full-disk encryption since the days of iOS 4 released back in 2011, while Android only started enforcing encryption in devices manufactured with Android 6 and newer on board. Today, pretty much any smartphone you can buy new comes with full-disk encryption out of the box. Does this mean that Android smartphones are just resistant to physical imaging as their Apple counterparts, or is Android still a big security mess? Let’s have a look at some protection mechanisms implemented in modern versions of Android that are to prevent unauthorized access to user data, and how these mechanisms may become completely useless in the right circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

Obtaining Detailed Information about iOS Installed Apps

October 3rd, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

Accessing the list of apps installed on an iOS device can give valuable insight into which apps the user had, which social networks they use, and which messaging tools they communicate with. While manually reviewing the apps by examining the device itself is possible by scrolling a potentially long list, we offer a better option. Elcomsoft Phone Viewer can not just display the list of apps installed on a given device, but provide information about the app’s version, date and time of acquisition (first download for free apps and date and time of purchase for paid apps), as well as the Apple ID that was used to acquire the app. While some of that data is part of iOS system backups, data on app’s acquisition time must be obtained separately by making a request to Apple servers. Elcomsoft Phone Viewer automates such requests, seamlessly displaying the most comprehensive information about the apps obtained from multiple sources.

In this how-to guide, we’ll cover the steps required to access the list of apps installed on an iOS device. Read the rest of this entry »

Accessing iOS Saved Wi-Fi Networks and Hotspot Passwords

September 28th, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

In this how-to guide, we’ll cover the steps required to access the list of saved wireless networks along with their passwords.

Step 1: Make a password-protected backup

In order to extract the list of Wi-Fi networks from an iOS device, you must first create a password-protected local backup of the iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch). While we recommend using Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit for making the backup (use the “B – Backup” option in the main menu), Apple iTunes can be also used to make the backup. Make sure to configure a backup password if one is not enabled; otherwise you will be unable to access Wi-Fi passwords. Read the rest of this entry »

Android 8.0 Oreo: Your Text Messages Are in the Cloud Now

September 21st, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

In each major Android update, Google improves security on the one hand, and moves a few more things to the cloud on the other. The recently finalized and finally released Android 8.0 Oreo adds one important thing to all devices running the newest build of Google’s OS: the ability to back up SMS text messages into the user’s Google Account.

If you follow our blog, you may recall we’ve already talked about the issue a few months ago. Back in April, we were excited to introduce a new feature to Elcomsoft Cloud Explorer, enabling cloud acquisition of text messages from Google Account. Back then, the feature was limited strictly to Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices running Android 7 Nougat.

The release of Android 8.0 Oreo has finally brought the feature to all devices regardless of make and model, allowing any device to back up and restore SMS text message via the user’s Google Account.

We updated Elcomsoft Cloud Explorer accordingly, enabling support for cloud-based SMS extraction for devices running Android 8. There aren’t many of those yet aside of Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices, but many users of Nexus 5x and 6p have already received the update. More devices will follow. Let’s have a look at how this new feature works. Before we begin, let us first clear the confusion that arises between Android data sync and data backups. Read the rest of this entry »

Elcomsoft Phone Breaker 8, New Apple Devices and iOS 11

September 14th, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

With all attention now being on new iPhone devices, it is easy to forget about the new version of iOS. While new iPhone models were mostly secret until announcement, everyone could test iOS 11 for months before the official release.

Out previous article touches the issue of iOS 11 forensic implications. In this article we’ll cover what you can and what you cannot do with an iOS 11 device as a forensic expert. We’ll talk about which acquisition methods still works and which don’t, what you can and cannot extract compared to iOS 10, and what you need to know in order to make the job don’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

iOS 11: jailbreaking, backups, keychain, iCloud – what’s the deal?

September 14th, 2017 by Vladimir Katalov

iOS 11 is finally here. We already covered some of the issues related to iOS 11 forensics, but that was only part of the story.

Should we expect a jailbreak? Is there still hope for physical acquisition? If not, is logical acquisition affected? Are there any notable changes in iCloud? What would be easier to do: logical or iCloud acquisition, and what are the prerequisites for either method? What do you begin with? How to make sure the suspect does not alter their iCloud storage or wipe their device in the process? Can we actually get more information from the cloud than from the device itself, even with physical, and why?

Spoiler: the short answer to the last question is “yes”. The long answer is a bit complicated. Keep reading.

Read the rest of this entry »

iOS 11 Does Not Fix iCloud and 2FA Security Problems You’ve Probably Never Heard About

September 11th, 2017 by Vladimir Katalov

In the US, Factory Reset Protection (FRP) is a mandatory part of each mobile ecosystem. The use of factory reset protection in mobile devices helped tame smartphone theft by discouraging criminals and dramatically reducing resale value of stolen devices. Compared to other mobile ecosystems, Apple’s implementation of factory reset protection has always been considered exemplary. A combination of a locked bootloader, secure boot chain and obligatory online activation of every iPhone makes iCloud lock one exemplary implementation of factory reset protection.

All one needs to do is enable the Find My Phone option in iCloud settings. In fact, this option is enabled by default once you set up your new iPhone. After that, even if you lose your iPhone and someone else attempts to reset it to factory defaults, the device will be still locked to your iCloud account. Unlocking the device (removing iCloud lock) requires access to your Apple ID, password, and secondary authentication factor if you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled. Sounds pretty secure so far?

Read the rest of this entry »

New Security Measures in iOS 11 and Their Forensic Implications

September 7th, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

Apple is about to launch its next-generation iOS in just a few days. Researching developer betas, we discovered that iOS 11 implements a number of new security measures. The purpose of these measures is better protecting the privacy of Apple customers and once again increasing security of device data. While some measures (such as the new S.O.S. sequence) are widely advertised, some other security improvements went unnoticed by the public. Let us have a look at the changes and any forensic implications they have.

Establishing Trust with a PC Now Requires a Passcode

For the mobile forensic specialist, one of the most compelling changes in iOS 11 is the new way to establish trust relationship between the iOS device and the computer. In previous versions of the system (which includes iOS 8.x through iOS 10.x), establishing trusted relationship only required confirming the “Trust this computer?” prompt on the device screen. Notably, one still had to unlock the device in order to access the prompt; however, fingerprint unlock would work perfectly for this purpose. iOS 11 modifies this behaviour by requiring an additional second step after the initial “Trust this computer?” prompt has been confirmed. During the second step, the device will ask to enter the passcode in order to complete pairing. This in turn requires forensic experts to know the passcode; Touch ID alone can no longer be used to unlock the device and perform logical acquisition.

Read the rest of this entry »

iOS 9.3.5 Physical Acquisition Made Possible with Phoenix Jailbreak

August 24th, 2017 by Oleg Afonin

If you watch industry news, you are probably aware of the new Phoenix jailbreak… or not. During the last several years, getting news about iOS jailbreaks from reliable sources became increasingly difficult. The sheer number of fake Web sites mimicking the look of well-known resources such as Pangu and TaiG made us extra careful when trying newly published exploits.

Back to Phoenix. This thing is for real. Phoenix claims support for iPhone 4s, 5/5c, iPad 2/3/4, iPad mini, and iPod 5g running the last version of iOS 9.3.5. We were able to verify these claims by successfully jailbreaking several test devices and using Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit to perform full physical acquisition (as in imaging and decrypting the physical data partition).

With Phoenix jailbreak, iOS Forensic Toolkit can perform physical acquisition of Apple’s 32-bit devices running iOS 9.3.5, which happens to be the last version of iOS 9. Users of iOS Forensic Toolkit can perform physical-level imaging and decryption of the data partition, decryption and examination of keychain items, and enjoy full unrestricted access to sandboxed app data. This level of access is simply not possible with any other acquisition methods. As an example, physical acquisition of jailbroken devices enables forensic access to saved email messages, passwords, and full conversation logs saved by some of the most secure messengers such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Skype and Facebook Messenger. Compared to iOS backup analysis, this method adds access to browser cache and temporary files, email messages, extended location history, and data that belongs to apps that explicitly disable backups.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Extract iCloud Keychain with Elcomsoft Phone Breaker

August 22nd, 2017 by Olga Koksharova

Starting with version 7.0, Elcomsoft Phone Breaker has the ability to access, decrypt and display passwords stored in the user’s iCloud Keychain. The requirements and steps differ across Apple accounts, and depend on factors such as whether or not the user has Two-Factor Authentication, and if not, whether or not the user configured an iCloud Security Code. Let’s review the steps one needs to take in order to successfully acquire iCloud Keychain.

Pre-Requisites

Your ability to extract iCloud Keychain depends on whether or not the keychain in question is stored in the cloud. Apple provides several different implementations of iCloud Keychain. In certain cases, a copy of the keychain is stored in iCloud, while in some other cases it’s stored exclusively on user’s devices, while iCloud Keychain is used as a transport for secure synchronization of said passwords.

In our tests, we discovered that there is a single combination of factors when iCloud Keychain is not stored in the cloud and cannot be extracted with Elcomsoft Phone Breaker:

  • If the user’s Apple ID account has no Two-Factor Authentication and no iCloud Security Code

In the following combinations, the keychain is stored in the cloud:

  • If the user’s Apple ID account has no Two-Factor Authentication but has an iCloud Security Code (iCloud Security Code and one-time code that is delivered as a text message will be required)
  • If Two-Factor Authentication is enabled (in this case, one must enter device passcode or system password to any device already enrolled in iCloud Keychain)

In both cases, the original Apple ID and password are required. Obviously, a one-time security code is also required in order to pass Two-Factor Authentication, if enabled. Read the rest of this entry »

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