As things stand right now, a determined attacker will still find plenty of ways to get to iPhone data. It's important to note that Elcomsoft built its tools without any help from Apple—they're based entirely on reverse engineering of Apple's protocols. In our first assault on iPhone data, we employed that Elcomsoft pair—iOS Forensic Toolkit (EIFT) and Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB). The target’s iCloud password—by them volunteering it, through a phishing attack, or by gaining access through other social engineering. Access to a computer with their stored iCloud credentials in a token—either with the phone owner’s credentials or as root. However, the EIFT attack was super-effective on an old iPhone 4 on the first attempt—largely because the target (my wife) hadn’t updated iOS since version 5.1. Next, we shifted tactics away from the iPhones themselves and went after what is currently perceived as the softest target—iCloud backups.
We also went after a password-encrypted version of the backup on a local drive using EPPB’s dictionary and brute-force password attacks, cracking the seven-letter password after about two days of hammering the file on an ancient HP dual-Athlon machine. Password-guessing and brute-force attacks aren’t the only ways an attacker could get a target’s iCloud credentials. And since the iCloud backup is only protected by the iCloud password right now, once someone has obtained that password, everything in that backup is wide open. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Conde Nast. If you’d like to see a demo of our Secure File Sharing solution, click the link below.


But digital safety is certainly on everyone's mind after the massive iCloud breach that resulted in many celebrity nude photos leaking across the Internet. To demonstrate just how much private information on an iPhone can be currently pulled from iCloud and other sources, we enlisted the help of a pair of software tools from Elcomsoft. Sadly iCloud backups, because of their nature, often contain data long gone from a phone itself, or at least data that's gone from what the phone user can see onscreen.
For example, the new tweaks will alert users by e-mail and push message when there’s an attempt to restore a backup from iCloud to a new device, to change a password, or to connect a new device to an iCloud account. While older devices can still be easily scraped of personal data with forensic tools, newer devices are notably harder to crack. However, there are still a statistically significant number of older devices in circulation,even based on a look at the agent information from Ars' visitor logs. That turned out to be a mistake, as the toolkit depends on a “jailbreak” that doesn’t work on more recent iPhones. We were quickly able to bust the passcode and image the device’s contents as a set of .DMG files on my Mac. Using EPPB, we downloaded the full backup contents of our iCloud account, discovering there were three date-stamped backup images waiting to be plundered for data. Until recently, the same sort of attacks could be launched (albeit in extreme slow motion) against iCloud without triggering an alert.
There’s been a recent wave (at least in our e-mail) of Apple iCloud account phishing attacks. While the company has promised fixes to both its mobile operating system and cloud storage service in the coming weeks, the perception of Apple's current security feels iffy at best.


These tools are essentially professional-level, forensic software used by law enforcement and other organizations to collect data.
While this may not have prevented the celebrity information swipe entirely, it would have at least alerted those being targeted that their accounts were accessed. Oxygen Forensics offers a free 6-month trial download of its suite to anyone willing to give up their email address.
While most of these have been pretty obvious (Apple would never allow e-mails with that many typos to go out), a well-thought-out phishing attack could be used to throw a user into a panic—for example, by suggesting that their iCloud account has been compromised. But to show that an attacker wouldn’t necessarily need that to gain access to phone data, we also used a pair of simpler “hacks,” attacking a family member’s account (again, with permission) by using only an iPhone and iTunes running on a Windows machine. In addition to these alerts, Apple will also push harder for users to use two-factor authentication in iOS 8—which will cover access to iCloud from mobile devices.
Users who don’t use two factor authentication (which there’s a three-day waiting period to sign up for) or upgrade to iOS 8 will continue to be easy targets, especially if they don’t react quickly to account alerts. We are working on that, but analyzing 64-bit ARM code is a nightmare.” The attempt ended up putting our phone in recovery mode, resulting in an ironic restoration from an iCloud backup.



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