Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

Extract and Decrypt WhatsApp Backups from iCloud

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging tool worldwide. Due to its point-to-point encryption, WhatsApp is an extremely tough target to extract.

As we already wrote in yesterday’s article, WhatsApp decryption is essential for the law enforcement since due to its popularity and extremely tough security it is a common choice among the criminals. However, the need for WhatsApp decryption is not limited to law enforcement. Us mere mortals may need access to our own communications when re-installing WhatsApp, changing devices or extracting conversations occurred on a device we no longer possess. Since WhatsApp data is not always available in iOS system backups, using WhatsApp’ own stand-alone cloud backup system is the more reliable choice compared to pretty much everything else.

Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp can now access iPhone users’ encrypted WhatsApp communication histories stored in Apple iCloud Drive. If you have access to the user’s SIM card with a verified phone number, you can now use Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp to circumvent the encryption and gain access to iCloud-stored encrypted messages. In this article, we’ll tell you how it works, and provide a step-by-step guide to extracting and decrypting WhatsApp backups from iCloud Drive.

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ElcomSoft vs. The Cloud: a Game of Cat and Mouse

Friday, May 12th, 2017

We’ve got a few forensic tools for getting data off the cloud, with Apple iCloud and Google Account being the biggest two. Every once in a while, the cloud owners (Google and Apple) make changes to their protocols or authentication mechanisms, or employ additional security measures to prevent third-party access to user accounts. Every time this happens, we try to push a hotfix as soon as possible, sometimes in just a day or two. In this article, we’ll try to address our customers’ major concerns, give detailed explanations on what’s going on with cloud access, and provide our predictions on what could happen in the future.

Update 19/05/2017: what we predicted has just happened. Apple has implemented additional checks just two days ago. This time, the extra checks do not occur during the authentication stage. Instead, the company started blocking pull requests for backup data originating from what appears to Apple as a desktop device (as opposed to being an actual iPhone or iPad). Once again we had to rush a hotfix to our customers, releasing an update just today. Whether or not our solution stands the test of time is hard to tell at this time. It seems this time it’s no longer a game but a war.

This whole Apple blocking third-party clients issue creates numerous problems to our customers who are either legitimate Apple users or law enforcement officials who must have access to critical evidence now as opposed to maybe getting it from Apple in one or two weeks. This time it’s not about security or privacy of Apple customers. After all, accounts protected with two-factor authentication are and have been safe. We’ve had similar experience with Adobe several years ago, and surprisingly, it turned out Adobe had reasons beyond privacy or security of its customers.

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Extracting Text Messages from Google Accounts

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Elcomsoft Cloud Explorer 1.30 can now pull SMS (text) messages straight off the cloud, and offers enhanced location processing with support for Routes and Places. In this article, we’ll have a close look at the new features and get detailed instructions on how to use them. The first article will discuss the text messages, while enhanced location data will be covered in the one that follows.

Text Messages: Part of Android Backups (sort of)

Before we begin extracting text messages, let us check where they come from. As you may know, Android 6.0 has finally brought automated data backups. While Android backups are not nearly as complete or as comprehensive as iOS backups, they still manage to save the most important things such as device settings, the list of installed apps and app data into the cloud. Being a Google OS, Android makes use of the user’s Google Account to store backups. Unlike Apple, Google does not count the space taken by these backups towards your Google Drive allotment. At the same time, Google allows for a very limited data set to be saved into the cloud, so you can forget about multi-gigabyte backups you have probably seen in iOS.

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How Long Does It Take to Crack Your Password?

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

We hear the “how long will it take to break…” question all the time. The answer is always the same: “it depends”. In this article we’ll try to give a detailed explanation and a definite answer for as many possible combinations as possible.

Do you need that password?

First thing first: are you sure you absolutely need o know that password? In many cases, protection can be removed without cracking the original password. This, for example, applies to legacy Quicken and QuickBooks documents, Microsoft Office documents saved in Microsoft Office 97-2000 or newer versions of Office in the Office 97-2003 format with default encryption settings, Microsoft SQL Server databases and certain types of Windows passwords (with few exceptions). (more…)

How to Break 70% of Passwords in Minutes

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

According to surveys, the average English-speaking consumer maintains around 27 online accounts. Memorizing 27 unique, cryptographically secure passwords is nearly impossible for a person one could reasonably call “average”. As a result, the average person tends to reuse passwords, which means that a single password (or its simple variations) can be used to protect multiple online accounts and services. The same passwords are very likely to be chosen to protect access to offline resources such as encrypted archives and documents. In fact, several independent researches published between 2012 and 2016 suggest that between 59 and 61 per cent of consumers reuse passwords.

Considering how consistent the numbers are between multiple researches carried out over the course of four years, we can safely assume that around 60% of consumers reuse their passwords. How can this data help us break passwords, and how did we arrive to the value of 70% in the title? Read along to find out! (more…)

Extracting WhatsApp Conversations from Android Smartphones

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

As you may already know, we’ve added Android support to our WhatsApp acquisition tool, Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp. While the updated tool can now extract WhatsApp communication histories directly from Android smartphones with or without root access, how do you actually use it, and how does it work? In this blog post we’ll be looking into the technical detail and learn how to use the tool.

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iOS 10 Physical Acquisition with Yalu Jailbreak

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Just a few days ago we updated iOS Forensic Toolkit with iOS 10 support. At that time, no jailbreak was available for iOS 10.2. As a consequence, physical acquisition was impossible.

A working jailbreak materialized much sooner than we could’ve hoped. Luca Todesco released a working Yalu102 jailbreak, allowing enthusiasts to mod their devices and enabling forensic experts perform physical acquisition of select iOS devices.

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How Can I Break Into a Locked iOS 10 iPhone?

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Each iteration of iOS is getting more secure. With no jailbreak available for the current version of iOS, what acquisition methods are available for the iPhone 7, 7 Plus and other devices updating to iOS 10? How does the recent update of Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit help extracting a locked iOS 10 iPhone? Read along to find out!

iOS 10: The Most Secure iOS

When iOS 8 was released, we told you that physical acquisition is dead. Then hackers developed a jailbreak, and we came up with an imaging solution. Then it was iOS 9 that nobody could break for a while. The same thing happened: it was jailbroken, and we made a physical acquisition tool for it. Now it’s time for iOS 10.2 and no jailbreak (again). While eventually it might get a jailbreak, in the meanwhile there is no physical acquisition tool for iOS 10 devices. Considering that iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were released with iOS 10 onboard, your acquisition options for these devices are somewhat limited.

Plan “B”

With no jailbreak available for iOS 10, what are your options? If you have the latest Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit, use “plan B” instead!

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Extracting Calls, Contacts, Calendars and Web Browsing Activities from iOS Devices in Real Time

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Cloud acquisition has been available for several years. iPhones and iPads running recent versions of iOS can store snapshots of their data in the cloud. Cloud backups are created automatically on a daily basis provided that the device is charging while connected to a known Wi-Fi network. While iCloud backups are great for investigations, there is one thing that might be missing, and that’s up-to-date information about user activities that occurred after the moment the backup was created. In this article, we’ll discuss an alternative cloud acquisition option available for iOS devices and compare it to the more traditional acquisition of iCloud backups.

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The Ugly Side of Two-Factor Authentication

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Two-factor authentication is great when it comes to securing access to someone’s account. It’s not so great when it gets in the way of accessing your account. However, in emergency situations things can turn completely ugly. In this article we’ll discuss steps you can do to minimize the negative consequences of using two-factor authentication if you lose access to your trusted device and your trusted phone number. In order to keep the size of this text reasonable we’ll only talk about Apple’s implementation, namely Two-Step Verification and Two-Factor Authentication. You can read more about those in our previous blog post.

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