Posts Tagged ‘iCloud’

Dude, Where Are My Messages?

February 15th, 2022 by Oleg Afonin

Cloud backups are an invaluable source of information whether you download them from the user’s iCloud account or obtain directly from Apple. But why some iCloud backups miss essential bits and pieces of information such as text messages, particularly iMessages? The answer is “end-to-end encryption”, and there’s more to it than just backups.

Over the last several years, the use of smart wearables continued to grow despite slowing sales. Among the many models, the Apple Watch Series 3 occupies a special spot. Introduced back in 2017, this model is still available new, occupying the niche of the most affordable wearable device in the Apple ecosystem. All that makes the Series 3 one of the most common Apple Watch models. The latest update to iOS Forensic Toolkit enables low-level extraction of the Apple Watch 3 using the checkm8 exploit.

Is surveillance a good or a bad thing? The answer depends on whom you ask. From the point of view of the law enforcement, the strictly regulated ability to use real-time surveillance is an essential part of many investigations. In this article we’ll cover a very unorthodox aspect of real-time surveillance: iCloud.

iOS security model offers very are few possibilities to recover anything unless you have a backup, either local or one from the cloud. There are also tricks allowing to recover some bits and pieces even if you don’t. In this article we’ll talk about what you can and what you cannot recover in modern iOS devices.

To perform an iCloud extraction, a valid password is generally required, followed by solving the two-factor authentication challenge. If the user’s iPhone is everything that you have, the iCloud password may not be available. By using a trusted device, one can gain unrestricted access to everything that is stored in the user’s iCloud account. This article gives a comprehensive walkthrough on this alternative authentication method.

A lot of folks (and even some law enforcement experts) are looking for a one-click solution for mobile extractions and data decryption. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age there are no ‘silver bullet’ solutions. In the days of high-tech mobile devices and end-to-end encryption one must clearly understand the available options, and plan their actions accordingly. The time of ‘snake oil’ exploits is long gone. The modern world of mobile forensics is complex, and your actions will depend on a lot of factors. Today, we’re going to make your life a notch more complex by introducing a new iCloud authentication option you’ve never heard of before.

The majority of mobile devices today are encrypted throughout, making extractions difficult or even impossible for major platforms. Traditional attack vectors are becoming a thing of the past with encryption being moved into dedicated security chips, and encryption keys generated on first unlock based on the user’s screen lock passwords. Cloud forensics is a great alternative, often returning as much or even more data compared to what is stored on the device itself.

It’s been 10 years since we have released one of our flagship products, Elcomsoft Phone Breaker. The first version appeared in April 2011, and was named “iPhone Password Breaker”.  Since then, we made tons of improvements. The tool lost the “iPhone” designation, and the “Password” part was dropped from its name because it was no longer limited to iPhones or passwords. Today, the tool can offer unmatched features for the mobile forensic specialists.

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.

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?