iOS Recovery Mode Analysis: Reading iOS Version from Locked and Disabled iPhones

February 18th, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

The iPhone recovery mode has limited use for mobile forensics. However, even the limited amount of information available through recovery mode can be essential for an investigation. Recovery access can be also the only available analysis method if the device becomes unusable, is locked or disabled after ten unsuccessful unlocking attempts, or had entered the USB restricted mode. Learn how to enter and leave Recovery and what information you can obtain in this mode.

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Breaking Jetico BestCrypt

February 3rd, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

BestCrypt, developed by the Finnish company Jetico, is a cross-platform commercial disk encryption tool. Available for Windows, Linux, macOS and Android platforms, BestCrypt is delivered in two editions, one offering full-disk encryption and the other encrypting virtual disk volumes stored in containers, the latter being supported with our tools.

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Passcode Unlock and Physical Acquisition of iPhone 4, 5 and 5c

February 2nd, 2021 by Vladimir Katalov

Passcode unlock and true physical acquisition are now available for iPhone 4, 5, and 5c devices – with caveats. Learn about the benefits and limitations of passcode unlocks and true physical imaging of Apple’s legacy devices. Looking for a step by step walkthrough? Check out our imaging guide!

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iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c Physical Acquisition Walkthrough

February 2nd, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

True physical acquisition is back – but only for a handful of old devices. We’re adding support for unlocking and forensically sound extraction of some of Apple’s legacy iPhones. For iPhone 4, 5, and 5c devices, we’re adding software-based passcode unlocking and device imaging functionality. Moreover, on some models you won’t even need to break the passcode in order to make a full disk image! In this walkthrough we’ll describe the steps required to image an iPhone 4, iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c device.

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NAS Forensics: Synology, ASUSTOR, QNAP, TerraMaster and Thecus Encryption Compared

February 1st, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

More than a year ago, we started researching the available encryption options in off the shelf network attached storage devices. We started with Synology devices, followed by Asustor, TerraMaster, Thecus, and finally Qnap. The manufacturers exhibit vastly different approaches to data protection, with different limitations, security implications and vulnerabilities. Today we are publishing the aggregate results of our analysis.

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End-to-End Encryption in Apple iCloud, Google and Microsoft Accounts

January 21st, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

The proliferation of always connected, increasingly smart devices had led to a dramatic increase in the amount of highly sensitive information stored in manufacturers’ cloud accounts. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the three major cloud providers who also develop their own hardware and OS ecosystems. In this report, we’ll see how these companies protect their users’ highly sensitive information compared to each other.

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Secure Instant Messengers

January 19th, 2021 by Olga Koksharova

In today’s world of everyone wanting a slice of one’s personal information, users become more and more concerned about the privacy. The WhatsApp/Facebook integration raised an additional concern, considering that Facebook-owned Messenger requests the largest number of invasive permissions among all commonly used messengers. Data privacy and security concerns are mounting like a snowball. 2020 brought multiple data breach incidents from popular blogging resources from LiveJournal whose users’ data was breached and leaked to the darknet to financial institutions like Postbank with 12M exposed credit cards, hospitality giants as Mariott with 383 million records compromised or even Microsoft customers who also suffered from privacy-related issues.

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DFU Mode Cheat Sheet

January 14th, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

The Device Firmware Upgrade mode, or simply DFU, just got a second breath. The ability to image the file system, decrypt the keychain and even do passcode unlocks on some older iPhone models has been made possible thanks to the checkm8 exploit and the checkra1n jailbreak, both of which require switching the phone into DFU. The procedure is undocumented, and the steps are different for the various devices.

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Apple, FBI and iPhone Backup Encryption: Everything You Wanted to Know

January 7th, 2021 by Vladimir Katalov

Shame on us, we somehow missed the whole issue about Apple dropping plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained, even mentioned in The Cybersecurity Stories We Were Jealous of in 2020 (and many reprints). In the meantime, the article is full of rumors, guesses, and unverified and technically dubious information. “Fake news”, so to say. Is there truth to the rumors, and what does Apple do and does not do when it comes to encrypting your personal information?

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Apple Scraps End-to-End Encryption of iCloud Backups

January 6th, 2021 by Oleg Afonin

Reportedly, Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained. Apple’s decision will undoubtedly cause turmoil and will have a number of consequences. In this article, I want to talk about the technical reasons for encrypting or not encrypting cloud backup, and compare Apple’s approach with the data encryption strategies used by Google, who have been encrypting Android backups for several years.

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