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New version of EPPB: Recovering Master Passwords for BlackBerry Password Keeper and BlackBerry Wallet

August 30th, 2011 by Andrey Belenko

Conferences are good. When attending Mobile Forensics Conference this year (and demoing our iOS Forensic Toolkit), we received a lot of requests for tools aimed at BlackBerry forensics. Sorry guys, we can’t offer the solution for physical acquisition of BlackBerries (yet), but there is something new we can offer right now.

RIM BlackBerry smartphones have been deemed the most secure smartphones on the market for a long, long time. They indeed are quite secure devices, especially when it comes to extracting information from the device you have physical access to (i.e. mobile phone forensics). It is unfortunate, however, that a great deal of that acclaimed security is achieved by “security through obscurity”, i.e. by not disclosing in-depth technical information on security mechanisms and/or their implementation. The idea is to make it more difficult for third parties to analyze. Some of us here at Elcomsoft are BlackBerry owners ourselves, and we are not quite comfortable with unsubstantiated statements about our devices’ security and blurry “technical” documentation provided by RIM. So we dig.

Our first two targets are the apps providing secure storage of sensitive data: BlackBerry Password Keeper and BlackBerry Wallet. These applications are provided by RIM for free; Password Keeper is even included with each installation of BlackBerry OS. The two apps are the recommended way to store login credentials and other sensitive data such as credit card numbers. The data stored in those two apps could also be a wealth of information for investigators. According to RIM, all data is securely encrypted with AES-256. The encryption key is derived from user-specified master password, which can be different from device password. Password Keeper and Wallet master passwords can also be different.

Another notable fact is that Password Keeper and Wallet databases are included in the backup produced by BlackBerry Desktop Software. This means that, as a mobile forensics investigator, you can access those databases (containing encrypted data at this point) by either connecting suspects’ handset and running Desktop Software (if there is no password protection on the device) or by looking for stored device backups on suspects’ computer(s). And even if the backup you’ve been able to get a hold of is encrypted, our Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker can recover the password for it .

Once you’ve got the (unencrypted) backup, Password Keeper and Wallet databases are accessible. The problem is that their data are still encrypted. And this is exactly what today’s EPPB release is about: recovering master passwords for Password Keeper and Wallet databases. Now you can load a BlackBerry device backup into EPPB and run password recovery against Password Keeper and Wallet databases. And what’s really good about this is that password recovery rate is great – hundreds of thousands and up to several millions passwords per second on modern CPU, depending on BlackBerry OS version. To the best of our knowledge, there were no tools capable of doing this until now, so we're proud to be the world’s first again, offering our customers unique functionality that’s not available in other vendors’ products.

So, you were able to discover the master password, what's next? Right now you have two options:

  • Use BlackBerry Simulator, restore the backup to it, and use the recovered master password(s) to enter Password Keeper and/or Wallet. Access stored data as usual.
  • Use Elcomsoft BlackBerry Backup Explorer, which can now show Password Keeper and Wallet data (as of version 9.61 being released today).

The third option to view Password Keeper and Wallet data within EPPB itself will be probably added with the next update. Speaking of updates, I'd like to tell you that this BlackBerry-related addition is really small compared to what's in the queue. If things go well, we hope to release "the next big thing" within 1-1.5 months from now. You're going to love it, I promise :-).

P.S. For those technically inclined out there, here’s a brief summary:

BlackBerry Password Keeper database format and protection is the same for OS 5, OS 6, and OS7. Per-item encryption key is derived by computing 3 (three) iterations of PBKDF2-SHA1 with master password and per-item salt.

Wallet database format and protection differs between OS 5 and OS 6/7.

For Wallet in OS 5, per-item encryption key is derived by computing 3 (three) iterations of PBKDF2-SHA1 with SHA-256 hash of master password and per-item salt.

For Wallet in OS 6 and OS 7, per-item encryption key is derived by computing a random number of iterations (between 50 and 100) of PBKDF2-SHA1 with SHA-512 hash of master password and per-item salt.

Encryption in all above formats is AES-256 in ECB (!) mode, SHA-1 hash of the data is appended before encrypting; data is padded as per PKCS #5.

In my opinion, should RIM have opted to be more open about their security mechanisms, someone (maybe even someone from their own team) could possibly point out that the level of protection against password recovery attacks is not sufficient for 2011.


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13 Responses to “New version of EPPB: Recovering Master Passwords for BlackBerry Password Keeper and BlackBerry Wallet”

  1. gogongarso says:

    Thanks for the info. Based on your post, this should be work for all blackberry OS. I think I will try this recovery tool from Elcomsoft. I’ve old blackberry (v.5 or 6 I think). Hope this work

  2. beejay says:

    I lost my blackberry curve 9830 but I have forgotten the password I used to preotect it.I want to recover my contacts and files to a new blacberry touch 9810. Please what do I do because I have important files on the lost phone.

  3. janrius aglibot says:

    Nakalimutan ko po kasi passwork ko.pakiayos naman po para sakin.salamat

  4. janrius aglibot says:

    Paayos naman po nang password ko.salamat

  5. Brian says:

    My challenge is i know what my password was, but before when i was entering it, there would be stars so i would not see what characters were. Now the characters show and the device does not accept it. How do i solve it. I have one attempt left

  6. Molon says:

    I am running OS6.0 on BB bold 9700. Lost password for passwordkeeper program. Need a method of recovery. what can you suggest?

    • Molon,

      To recover password to Keeper container, you have to make unencrypted backup of your device (using BB Desktop Software) first, then load it into EPB and start brute-force or dictionary attack.

  7. Molon says:

    I’ve collected the EPPB software to install on my system. However, it would help a good deal if I could verify the first letter in the password-from there I could easily surmise the password. Any way to do that with the software? I thought it could be possible with an occilator device as well.
    Another good feature would be the ability to extend the number of trial passwords indefinitely.

  8. Molon says:

    I am trying to get into password keeper on my Blackberry 9700. I have located the info.mkf file but am unable to run the EPPB 2015 software. It asks for password but is a trial version. Would want the paid version if I can be sure it will run. I don’t have web connection. Please advise.

    • Molon,

      Sorry, what do you mean “asks for password”? Even the free trial version should allow to recover the password to Keeper — but just shows only first 2 chars of the password (if found).

  9. Molon says:

    I mean there is a request to enter password after dropping blackberry folder into EPB window.