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iPhone Attack Reveals Passwords In Six Minutes

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-took-so-long? dept.

Iphone 186

angry tapir writes "Researchers in Germany say they've been able to reveal passwords stored in a locked iPhone in just six minutes and they did it without cracking the phone's passcode. The attack, which requires possession of the phone, targets keychain, Apple's password management system. Passwords for networks and corporate information systems can be revealed if an iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen."

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Well... (1, Troll)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161704)

I sure am glad that my right to pay steve 30% of the price for everything I want to run on my iDevice is at least keeping me secure!

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161736)

Give them a break! It's not like they have billions of dollars in annual profit which could help them do some serious security R&D.

Re:Well... (-1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161810)

>>>I sure am glad that my right to pay steve 30%

To be fair, Microsoft and Ubuntu linux password systems are not any more secure. Apple is no worse than they.

As for cost - well my new Windows 7 desktop cost $200. Can I find an OS 10.6 mac for that price? Probably. If I search long enough (five years later) - see? Found one. ;-)

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161990)

To be fair, Microsoft and Ubuntu linux password systems are not any more secure. Apple is no worse than they.

Do you have a citation for this? It was my understanding that most keychains use the login password to encrypt the passwords rather than other data available on the device.

Re:Well... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162320)

On linux perhaps you can use the plaintext login password (which is not known to the system until the user logs in or you can crack the encrypted hash)...
On windows the authentication system is such that the encrypted hash (which is stored on disk) is actually sufficient to authenticate...

On a phone you won't typically enter a password to boot the device, so it has to store the key on the device somehow.

Re:Well... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162288)

Last I checked a android phone that has the same specs as my iphone cost the SAME AMOUNT or more.

Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (3, Funny)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161748)

Fb gurl'ir svtherq Nccyr jnf hfvat ebg13, abj jung?

http://www.rot13.com: So they've figured Apple was (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161794)

http://www.rot13.com: So they've figured Apple was using rot13, now what?

Re:Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161808)

Gurl'yy fjvgpu gb ebg39. Nsgre nyy, vg zhfg or zber frpher!

Re:Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163062)

Gurl'yy fjvgpu gb ebg39. Nsgre nyy, vg zhfg or zber frpher!

ebg39: vg'f whfg yvxr ebg13, bayl guerr gvzrf nf frpher! Xvaqn yvxr gevcyr QRF sbe qhzzvrf. Gur wbxrf jevgr gurzfryirf.

Every single smart phone has same problem (2)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161868)

THink about it.... Do you enter a passwrod when start your phone? No? well then how is the built-in keychain locked? it's not. et might be encoded but the phone itself has to have the password. If you can jailbreak it or if like android, it's already jailbroken for you, then you have no password security.

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162018)

1) Maybe the keychain should be encrypted using the unlock code.

2) Maybe the phone should have a private key used for authentication (except the first time). The key could be encrypted with a passphrase (used at power-on) and/or a passcode (the unlock code).

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162168)

1) Maybe the keychain should be encrypted using the unlock code.

How many bits does it take to express your unlock code? The longest code is all the digits from 1-9 in some order.

2) Maybe the phone should have a private key used for authentication (except the first time). The key could be encrypted with a passphrase (used at power-on) and/or a passcode (the unlock code).

Users won't tolerate an unlock code that is a strong password.

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162352)

Have a bootup password that's only required when powering on the phone, if you further configure the phone that it won't communicate via usb unless you've already entered the unlock code then you are at least relatively safe... Someone would need to steal your phone while its already powered up, dismantle it and try to read from memory.

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162824)

Brute forcing the unlock code wouldn't be that much harder if it can be done externally, and you are (practically) limited to a shorter passcode on a phone.

You could have a QR code or something similar that the camera needs to see in order to unlock... but how quickly will that become abused? Any time you go for a stand-alone device, you are going to have compromises.

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162132)

THink about it.... Do you enter a passwrod when start your phone?

Yes.

No? well then how is the built-in keychain locked? it's not. et might be encoded but the phone itself has to have the password. If you can jailbreak it or if like android, it's already jailbroken for you, then you have no password security.

Er.... Use the lock password to encrypt the keychain?

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162164)

THink about it.... Do you enter a passwrod when start your phone?

Of course I do. Any real geek probably has a password set, and a suitably short timeout. Still, physical access to any device trumps almost any security measure. The headlines scream "iPhone" but this can be done with any mobile device, once you have it in your possession.

Re:Every single smart phone has same problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162250)

Uh, wrong. The only thing rooting an Android phone does is place the su binary on the phone. Are you going to say that Linux desktop is equally weak then because it has su?

However, if you don't update the kernel after temporarily gaining root, then yes, it isn't secure.

Re:Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161922)

Yea, well, mine's better, I use rot13 twice! Crack this, sucker!

Re:Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161978)

Fb gurl'ir svtherq Nccyr jnf hfvat ebg13, abj jung?

If they had of used Kant instead none of this would have happened. Jung is a prick.

Re:Apple's military-grade encryption, cracked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162420)

Perhaps they should upgrade the cipher, to rot26. Such as my message is encrypted.

Oh, look, they sell something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161766)

> Last year the institute began selling a Java phone application for securely storing passwords.

Oh, look, they sell something that makes the problem go away. Surprise, surprise.

Re:Oh, look, they sell something (2)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161792)

> Last year the institute began selling a Java phone application for securely storing passwords.

Oh, look, they sell something that makes the problem go away. Surprise, surprise.

If the problem is replicated by others, then their program is quite valuable.

Re:Oh, look, they sell something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161806)

> Last year the institute began selling a Java phone application for securely storing passwords.

Oh, look, they sell something that makes the problem go away. Surprise, surprise.

Which wouldn't be necessary had Apple done their security right. Welcome to the free market.

Relies on Jailbreaking (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161788)

Root access is there anything it can't do?

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161822)

Decrypt passwords in a typical Unix shadow file

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161930)

Decrypt passwords in a typical Unix shadow file

Which is not what was hacked. These were external passwords (eg. to your mail account.)

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162362)

Which is not what was hacked. These were external passwords (eg. to your mail account.)

Whatever. Being root does not somehow magically allow you to decrypt abitary data.

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163054)

Whatever. Being root does not somehow magically allow you to decrypt abitary data.

The data decrypted isn't arbitrary. It's information the phone requires when it starts up. Therefore the phone itself has to have some way (usually protected by root privileged objects) to unlock that information.

Any phone, or computer for that matter, that has automatic login enabled has to make this sacrifice. The iphone auto logs in as user "mobile". OS X (and therefore iOS) has a very convoluted/obfuscated way to unlock the user keychain based on automatic login, but of course no matter how much they obfuscate it, it can be defeated given enough time and dedication, by people that are capable of reverse-engineering your binaries.

This isn't a security blunder by Apple, it's a necessary tradeoff made by any operating system that features auto login. The only way to strengthen this is by encrypting the actual key with the unlock code, but four digits isn't enough entropy to even be worth the effort. You might turn a 6 minute hack into a 7 minute hack if you're very lucky. And as others have pointed out, that's about as much inconvenience as users will tolerate in an unlock code.

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162518)

What about Firefox's password storing ability? At least if you use a (reasonably secure) master password, you shouldn't be able to crack it even on a machine with root access, right?
What about the Gnome password manager? Would you be able to crack that without knowing the user password?

But then, there's always the issue with a running session. You typically enter the master password only once per session, so if the attacker can break in while you are logged in/have the browser open (and already provided the master password), I guess the attacker could indeed access your passwords.

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (2)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161872)

This isn't about the phone, it's about the Keychain. I'm not sure whether the Mac version is identical or not, and whether FileVault uses it or not, but if both these conditions are met, it's bad. Really bad.

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162124)

But what the article didn't say was that the phone needed to be jailbroken by the original owner to start the process. Only that Jailbreaking is part of the process. Someone may infer that from your statement and that is not the case.

From the paper: http://www.sit.fraunhofer.de/en/Images/sc_iPhone%20Passwords_tcm502-80443.pdf [fraunhofer.de]

For evaluating the practical strength of iOS device encryption security, we assume an attacker with physical access to the device, e.g. accomplished by theft
or when finding a lost device. The assumed device is protected with a strong passcode, which is unknown to the attacker. The complexity of the passcode
does not play a role for this evaluation, but is assumed to prevent an attacker from gaining access by simply guessing. Also, it is assumed that the device has not been jailbroken and so all original iOS protection mechanisms are in place.

When the device is found, it is assumed to be in the locked4 state with activated data protection5. An unlocked device would provide the possibilities for
user space exploits and could reveal more secrets. However, this leakage could not be accounted to the protection mechanism we wanted to evaluate.

The attacker’s PC used to gain access to passwords has not been synchronized with the attacked device before. Therefore no secrets can be used by the attacker that are created between the owner’s PC and his device.

In the described situation, device encryption commonly should provide protection against attacks from the outside. If the device is still turned on — e.g., not
run out of battery meanwhile —, we assume that no remote wipe6 command was received in the meantime (e.g, theft remained unnoticed, no network connection, etc.). In any case, the attacker turns off the device and removes the SIM card to prevent a further remote control. In this described state, we have conducted our tests with iPhone 4 and iPad WiFi+ 3G hardware with the latest firmware 4.2.1.

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162296)

But what the article didn't say was that the phone needed to be jailbroken by the original owner to start the process.

From the paper: http://www.sit.fraunhofer.de/en/Images/sc_iPhone%20Passwords_tcm502-80443.pdf [fraunhofer.de] [fraunhofer.de]
[...]
Also, it is assumed that the device has not been jailbroken and so all original iOS protection mechanisms are in place.
[...]

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just does not belong...

Re:Relies on Jailbreaking (0)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162804)

But what the article didn't say was that the phone needed to be jailbroken by the original owner to start the process. Only that Jailbreaking is part of the process. Someone may infer that from your statement and that is not the case.

Context asshole. Quit living in a soundbite world.

So....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161816)

Since the iPhone itself can always decrypt those passwords, there is no way to prevent it from being done by a human - it doesn't make sense and all attampts to achieve the goal is just illogical. Why do pepole see this as a security problem?

Re:So....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161928)

It is a security problem...An unsolvable one though. This won't stop people wanting to make a profit from selling something by telling it can solve this problem while it doesn't.

Now, itf there were a law to stop people from telling lies...Oh, well you can't count on politicians to make one! It would get them all jailed on the spot. Same goes for most journalists and anyone working in marketing.

In fact you have no chance to get a law like that: all the people with any kind of power do use lies a lot.

Re:So....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162084)

Why not just design the phone to encrypt the information with a passphrase, or even the passcode people already have? The security issue is that the information to decrypt it is *located on the device*. Encryption is useless if you have the key in the same place as the encrypted data.

Re:So....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162414)

People are not going to accept password-locking a phone. Perhaps facial identification could gain acceptance. USB-drive auth won't be favored either. Gesture input unlocking is too difficult for the morons. What else is there?

Re:So....? (3, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162742)

The key is that, apparently, the iPhone has enough information onboard to decrypt the passwords. This is a huge mistake. It's like leaving the key in the lock on your house. I'm hoping this story is bullshit, or if it's true Apple can resolve this quickly in the next OS release.

Assuming the assertions in the article are true...

I can only compare this to the Blackberry, since I own one and have researched its security model. All information in the filesystem as a whole (including the keyring) is encrypted by a key that is itself encrypted by the passcode you set to log in to the device. The password has strength parameters set in (minimum 8 chars, one number, etc). The phone locks itself after 15 minutes of non-use. My company sets all of these parameters and I can't override them.

I can choose optional portions of the filesystem that can be outside the encryption (all or portions of any SD chips you install, your address book so you can make calls when the phone is locked, etc). But email and passwords and such are protected (unless you're stupid enough to put passwords in your address book and not encrypt the address book, of course).

So if you get your paws on my Blackberry and it's locked you have to figure out the password in order to decrypt the key that allows access to the filesystem and keyring. After 10 bad tries, the phone overwrites the decryption keys with garbage and then starts formatting the filesystem.

That's not to say it's 100% secure - if you pull the SIM the phone can never receive the "wipe" command (so you have 10 tries or you can attempt to copy the contents of internal soldered memory), and of course you can pull the SD chip and copy it so you can decrypt that at your leisure.

But, hell, it's at least difficult.

Context? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161824)

Is six minutes good or bad? How long does it take with other phones?

Re:Context? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162206)

Decrypting stuff should take, oh, about the heat death of the universe.

But as with most with most exploits, it looks like this isn't a problem with the encryption method, but the implementation. The encryption hasn't been hacked, they just found the password.

It doesn't matter how good the lock is if you leave the key under the mat.

Re:Context? (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162484)

In addition to having physical access, The paper assumes that the phone has not received a wipe command, that the phone is not jailbroken and is running the latest firmware 4.2.1.

http://www.sit.fraunhofer.de/en/Images/sc_iPhone%20Passwords_tcm502-80443.pdf [fraunhofer.de]

6 min is well under the amount of time to:

- Realize you've misplaced your phone
- Do the pocket pat down
- Retrace your steps a little to confirm you've misplaced your phone
- Get someplace where you can send the wipe command.

Re:Context? (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162528)

I should also point out that the attacker's first move is to power down the phone and remove the SIM card to prevent remote control and receiving the wipe command.

apples are hard to crack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161826)

its false! i don't believe it.

apples says my iphone is ultra secure and i believe them. damn you researcher! i hope you gain 200 pounds weight in your lifetime. now where's my ipad?

Where's the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161846)

If only we had access to the keychain source code - the famed community could have fixed it. (Or at least contributed a patch)

iPhone version ?? (1)

slb (72208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161876)

What a useless report if we don't know which version of iPhone is targetted ? If this attack is effective against an iPhone4 then that's very interesting news, overwise who cares, we already know that 3GS and previous models [zdziarski.com] are wide open.

Re:iPhone version ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161912)

iPhone 4 according to the video linked from TFA

iPhone 4 & iOS 4.2.1 (2)

slb (72208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162112)

Oops, Should have not only read TFA but followed the links ! The paper from the Fraunhofer Institute linked in the article describes everything [fraunhofer.de] . (PDF 92 kB)

Better solution (2)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161890)

I keep my list of passwords taped to the back of the phone...well, really, my password...which is just my name spelled backwards, but I cleverly spelled it the right way on my sticker.

Re:Better solution (1)

fattmatt (1042156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161972)

that's the same password I have on my luggage!

Physical Access (2)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161900)

If an attacker has physical access to a computer(PC, Server, phone, etc...), is there anyway to stop them? Is there really any unbreakable way to encrypt your data?

Re:Physical Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161980)

yes, there is: choose good algorithms, use big keys, accept little performance overhead, ignore police requests to be able to always decrypt..

Re:Physical Access (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161998)

Is there really any unbreakable way to encrypt your data?

Uh, yes. It's called a one-time pad.

And just encrypting your list of passwords with a decent master password would take a lot more than six minutes to crack.

But I'm guessing iThing users don't want to be entering a sixteen character random password on a touchscreen 'keyboard' each time they need to log in somewhere.

Re:Physical Access (2)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162840)

Actually, if Apple had even encrypted the keyring decryption key with the passcode of the user, the default of a 4-number passcode means it would take up to 10,000 tries to get to the keyring. Still not terribly secure, but better than leaving the key hanging out of the ignition as things appear to be at the moment.

Re:Physical Access (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162000)

If an attacker has physical access to a computer(PC, Server, phone, etc...), is there anyway to stop them? Is there really any unbreakable way to encrypt your data?

Yes? Well, not really 'unbreakable', but impractical in a lifetime to crack. In fact, this is exactly what encryption is meant for: keep data secure even if it is publicly viewable.

Re:Physical Access (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162032)

For the Keychain, supposedly yes. On OS X itself the keychain can be locked independently of your user account. By default it is not - it shares the same password as your login, and unlocks when you log in. You can have it use a different password though and it stays locked until you allow access. Thus even if your machine is stolen and someone changes the password to your account they can't get into your keychain.

This is also what happens if you change the password using the OS X install disk (if you forget your user password) - it will allow you to change it, but the keychain password remains unchanged (even if it was the same as the user pw initially), preventing your passwords from being revealed.

All the system apps keep passwords in here, so your mail accounts, web page logins, wireless passwords etc are all protected.

I have no idea if this is the same on the iPhone. Presumably the keychain unlocks when the phone unlocks, I am unsure.

Re:Physical Access (2)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162356)

The keychain on the iPhone is locked only by software restriction... it doesn't use encryption(there isn't any password to encrypt with). If you backup your iPhone with iTunes without enabling "Encrypt iPhone backup", then you will see all your saved keychain in plain text in that backup.

This attack relies on a jailbreak to get around the normal keychain software security measures... although once an attacker has root on a running system, nothing it safe.

Re:Physical Access (3, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162046)

It's easier to steal or loose your phone than it is to break into your home and steal your desktop and considering the majority of people use the same passwords for email, Facebook, Amazon shopping and online banking, I'd consider this a serious security breach. Yes you can call people dumb for not being tech savvy but isn't that the target audience for apple products? (I don't mean dumb, just non-technical minded folk)

Re:Physical Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162056)

full disk encryption?

Re:Physical Access (2)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162070)

Unbreakable as in the resources required would be very significant to get access... yes. Laptops that use pre-boot authentication have solutions to protect them as long as they are powered off when stolen. The problem with phones of any kind is that they are always powered on so a pre-boot authentication scheme does not work for them. Even if you tried to protect the key the device has to have it in memory to decrypt the data so there could be a way to get it. For those using "GOOD for Enterprise" instead of the built-in exchange functionality you are protected. GOOD is a separate app that requires a pass phrase to access the data. I don't really like this solution because it is not integrated but that is a benefit from a security standpoint.

Re:Physical Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162826)

Either that or a device would have to have a checksum of the passphrase in memory. The only things you need are a decent password and a difficult-to-reverse way of turning it into an integer.

Re:Physical Access (2)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162980)

The problem with phones of any kind is that they are always powered on so a pre-boot authentication scheme does not work for them. Even if you tried to protect the key the device has to have it in memory to decrypt the data so there could be a way to get it.

You can still lock the phone and make the data inaccessible for any practical purpose.

Look at the Blackberry model.

  - Filesystem is encrypted by a long key.
  - Long key is present on the phone, but key is encrypted by the user's login password.

I have a moderately complex password controlled by a set of rules my company sets, and the phone locks itself after 15 minutes of non-use.

When the phone is locked, the OS still has access to the keyring so it can check my email and stuff, but I have no way of getting at any of that information because the user interface doesn't work until I unlock the phone.

If you try to unlock my phone and mess up the password ten times, the phone overwrites the long decryption key with garbage. It then proceeds to write garbage over the entire filesystem (rendering it indistinguishable from most of my corporate email, but I digress).

Re:Physical Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162554)

Physical access means a device can be pwned... eventually. What's important then is how long the device can keep its mouth shut. Like when special forces are trained to withstand torture: it is assumed that the soldier will crack eventually. But as soon as the soldier's capture is known, steps are taken to change up everything he knows about.

To me, the interesting part isn't the fact the data can be obtained. It's the fact that it only takes 6 minutes.

Re:Physical Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162636)

Is there really any unbreakable way to encrypt your data?

Sure there is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad

Oh, and more feasibly, but not perfectly secure:
http://news.techworld.com/security/3228701/fbi-hackers-fail-to-crack-truecrypt/

Now, is there any way to lock down a device with cryptography and not require authentication with a password, every time you pick it up?
No, there really isn't.

Re:Physical Access (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163012)

Now, is there any way to lock down a device with cryptography and not require authentication with a password, every time you pick it up?
No, there really isn't.

Yes, there is. For example, you could implant an RFID tag in your hand, and have the phone unlock by communication with the RFID tag, using a short-distance reader.
Well, you didn't say a practical way, did you?

Re:Physical Access (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163026)

Yes. Compartmentalize the data into as many little pigeonholes as possible, and only have the cubbyhole open/mounted/decrypted that is being worked on at the moment. When done with it, dismount/encrypt it.

I do this with my laptop and TrueCrypt. If I'm done with my Quickbooks instance, I suspend the VM and dismount the partition the VM disks are in. Doing this is the only real way of ensuring security in case of physical compromise. Of course, in a lot of cases, one can't really dismount critical server services, or go VM happy on a corporate desktop, but keeping tasks separate and only mounting what is needed is a good way to minimize damage is a good practice.

Cupertino's enviroment... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35161938)

...isn't attractive to the best of breed programmers. It's hot, there's lots of traffic, the smog is so bad you can't see the sun. Not to mention the bizarre corporate structure and superstar status Apple thinks itself as. The internal security is hell, nobody is on the same page. Your pulled off one job to do another and someone else completes your job in a half-assed manner and then you get the blame. There's this high level of greed that permeates the top dogs, they are looking at locking down all their computers, turning them into consoles. I hope someone high up in Apple see's this and comes to fire me, I really do.

Apple iOS File System Encryption (4, Interesting)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35161994)

In IOS >4 with a modern device (3GS or better, iPad included) this article is blatantly incorrect.

"The attack works because the cryptographic key on current iOS devices is based on material available within the device and is independent of the passcode, the researchers said.". Not true. In iOS4 they use a variant of PBKDF2 to generate an encryption key that is used along with the device key alluded to in this article to decrypt "class keys". The class keys are then used to access data at the various protection levels (Never, After First Unlock, Only When Unlocked). Each of those levels of data has a separate key. Those keys are required to decrypt the individual keys on each file. Each file has an encryption key set on it in the meta data (which means you do have to reformat your system and set a reasonable passcode).

Because of the PBKDF2 variant brute forcing is infeasible. Because of the device key you have to try this IN the device and are limited to Apple's hardware for forcing.

All of this is possible because Apple has an AES-256 hardware chip that blazes through crypto for that algorithm.

Remote wipe uses yet another key (the file system key). So each file encryption key requires a "Class key" and a "file system key" to be decrypted. Lose either one and the file system is history. So remote wipe is accomodated in newer versions of iOS by just forgetting the file system key.

In short, this article is not providing an accurate portrayal of "current/latest" devices. Though I am not sure how many people: Have the newer hardware, have iOS 4 AND have reformatted their filesystem to accomodate the required metadata.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162050)

So where are the keys stored?

If the keys are in the device and visible to software, then anyone with root access can get the keys. Otherwise you need some kind of secure key storage which would require an attacker to dismantle the phone and take the key storage chip apart, or the user has to enter it every time.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162146)

http://wikee.iphwn.org/s5l8900:encryption_keys [iphwn.org]

That is why the user's passcode is so critical. When you unlock the device it is created once (derived using PBKDF2) and then the passcode is gone. The derived key is held in memory to decrypt the class keys. When the device locks the class keys are (for sure) encrypted and the derived key is forgotten as well.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162870)

I don't fully understand the exploit because I'm unfamiliar with the keychain on the iPhone but I am familiar with it on the Macintosh, but I'm assuming it uses a similar setup. On the mac, if your login password matches the keychain password, it automatically unlocks the keychain, otherwise it asks you for a keychain password. Since there is no login password on the iPhone short of the screen lock, how is it managing to lock down these to begin with. Also, is there something similar to putting a custom password in as your keychain password that we can do in the short term to bypass this issue?

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162144)

In IOS >4 with a modern device (3GS or better, iPad included) this article is blatantly incorrect.

It may well be that there are inaccuracies introduced by reporter, as usual, but if you go to the source the video clearly shows this being done to an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162822)

From the article:"This decryption is possible,since on current (3) iOS devices the required cryptographic key does not depend on the user’s secret passcode"

That is what I take issue with since that is not 100% accurate. The quote, for the device they tested (4.2.1, with file system encryption on) should be, "This decryption is possible IN MOST SITUATIONS,since on current (3) iOS devices the required cryptographic key does not depend on the user’s secret passcode".

However you can set flags on files and keychain entries that DOES make the user's passcode required.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162272)

From the Paper: http://www.sit.fraunhofer.de/en/Images/sc_iPhone%20Passwords_tcm502-80443.pdf [fraunhofer.de]

In the described situation, device encryption commonly should provide protection against attacks from the outside. If the device is still turned on — e.g., not
run out of battery meanwhile —, we assume that no remote wipe6 command was received in the meantime (e.g, theft remained unnoticed, no network connection, etc.). In any case, the attacker turns off the device and removes the SIM card to prevent a further remote control.

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162396)

Wrong-o:
"In this described state, we have conducted our tests with iPhone 4 and iPad
WiFi+ 3G hardware with the latest firmware 4.2.1."

Re:Apple iOS File System Encryption (4, Interesting)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162734)

I feel I should clarify. The article summary is a bit misleading and the paper is not, exactly, misleading.

In the version of iOS they tested you have the option of encrypting your keychain entries using the mechanism I describe (which means they would come us as "protected"). And as the PDF article mentions they could not extract the device key (forcing a local brute force attack if you want the passcode set for the device). If the protection level is set to encrypt the keychain entry with the device passcode it can't be recovered through some flaw in the encryption (that we know about).

So the article is basically saying, "Gee we can access things that aren't flagged to be protected with the device passcode". Which is, well what any reasonable observer expected since that is exactly how it was described over a year ago. It is good to see a working implementation.

Apple's real flaw here is that they did not force this encryption for *everything*. Instead they rely on developers to pass in certain options when storing keychain entries (and or when writing files to disk). Without these options the data is, sadly, recoverable. Apple even only encrypts the Mail app out of the box, which does not set the best example. That said they are basically making a very technical commentary on design decisions by Apple and I think this point gets lost in all the scare mongering. It would have been much more coherent (but not have gotten as much PR) to simply make this clear straight away.

it is using the latest/current device. (4, Informative)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162910)

OR you could read the PDF which states CLEARLY:

"The results were taken from
a passcode protected and locked iPhone 4 with current firmware 4.2.1. "

That is the latest iOS and the latest iPhone, mind you.

http://www.sit.fraunhofer.de/en/Images/sc_iPhone%20Passwords_tcm502-80443.pdf [fraunhofer.de]

Re:it is using the latest/current device. (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162972)

Might as well state that what they wrote is not wrong.
What they get from the device are things like the Wifi access code and it is based on device based, passcode independent encryption.
This is a convenience trade off Apple made, but it is also a security issue.

OTHER things are encrypted with the passcode and they couldn't decrypt those. That is all clearly specified in the PDF.

Hey at least... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162086)

At least its more secure than Android because its closed source. Its not like anyone *gasp* found a way of looking at the iOS source code is there?. Isn't that right Mister Trend Micro chairman?

Re:Hey at least... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162222)

The sad fact is that the iPhone is indeed much more secure than Android. iOS uses full hardware encryption for the file system, Android has none. This attack just exploits some gaps left over from previous iOS versions. There were lots of data and passwords this attack could NOT crack, by the way. Apps that use the new encryption APIs properly are secure. It's just that by far not all apps are aware of this yet.

With Android you have all data if you have the phone, no matter what.

Soon to be rectified (2)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163008)

Honeycomb and Ice Cream will offer full data encryption options.

Re:Hey at least... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162384)

On the flip side to that.... Android doesn't have full disk encryption, so it is like saying I don't fail because I don't try. I have an android phone, but having come from a blackberry that is the one feature I miss (I am a security nerd, what can I say).

Re:Hey at least... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162474)

Considering that it has nothing to do with source code and more implementation of security (Crypto's easy...security's blindingly hard to get right...) combined with an ill-advised notion that it's secure and we should keep passwords on the iOS devices in the first place...

Passwords should NOT be so hard that you have to write the idiot things down. If it's complex, hard to remember, the human factor comes into play and you end up with stupidities like this- they're not the security you need to concern yourself as much as everyone seems to do with them.

Free way to prevent this (1)

2names (531755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162170)

"...and if you hold it juuuuust like *this*..."

Physical control of a device (2)

Terwin (412356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162210)

Since when has anyone even vaguely knowledgeable about security had any illusion that a device is still secure when a hacker has physical control over the device?

I lock my phone so that I have privacy from casual curiosity/pranks, I fully expect that every password I have on the thing will need to be changed as soon as it is stolen.

What (-1, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162224)

What was this about Apple products being un-hackable again?

Re:What (3, Insightful)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162718)

Nobody says they're unhackable. I think youre thinking about the classic "macs are more secure" debate, which is much different. But nobody with an ounce of geek in them would stretch so far to say something is unhackable. Anything can be hacked when an appropriately skilled person is given enough patience, physical access, and the right tools.

Re:What (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162818)

if you jailbreak it.. it's open to anyone and everyone.. did you RTFA?

"In a video that demonstrates the attack, the researchers first jailbreak the phone using existing software tools. They then install an SSH server on the iPhone that allows software to be run on the phone."

basically - "hey bad guys, here's my root fucking password. promise you won't hack my shit"

lastly - "Last year the institute began selling a Java phone application for securely storing passwords."
yeah. FUD for sales.

True Story (4, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162386)

For a buddy's bachelor party we went white water rafting, and rented a huge cabin for the weekend. When we first arrived, we were all staking out beds (18 of us), and some of them were of the slide under the couch futon variety. While we were pulling one out, we found a woman's wallet from the previous occupants. It belonged to a girl in her early 20's that was clearly there partying it up. Her wallet contained everything, ID, credit cards, iPhone, etc.. (even a little white baggy of nose candy). Anyway the iPhone was locked, but one of the guys took it and said (his words not mine) "lets see how dumb this bitch is...". He typed 1,2,3,4 into the iPhone and nothing. Then he said, hey hand me her ID (which all the guys were checking out as she was rather hot), and then typed in her birthday as found on her ID into the iPhone... Click. Two tries. Her phone had plenty of photos of her and her girl friends which we all checked out. Anyway in the end we flushed her baggy, and using the contacts of her iPhone called up her Mom and some of her friends to get hold of her, told her we found her stuff, got her address and at the conclusion of our weekend mailed her stuff back to her. When we talked to her on the phone, we suggested she change her password to something a little stronger.

Moral of the story, 1) People pick stupid passwords anyway, you hardly need some sophisticated password cracking system in many cases, 2) don't loose your iPhone with a stupid password at a party resort unless you want a bunch of stupid guys ogling your photos... We also may have taken a photo of one of the guys on the toilet using her phone, not sure if that ever got erased or not...

Re:True Story (4, Funny)

t0p (1154575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162662)

Anyway in the end we flushed her baggy

Is "flushed" the expression drug fiends use nowadays? We used to say "snorted"...

Re:True Story (2)

ephraimX (556000) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162792)

...but if her password had been stronger, you would have been much less likely to be able to track her down. Maybe it's a reasonable compromise: some dudes see your pix, but you get your $600 phone back.

Re:True Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162930)

If she lost her whole wallet containing ID, credit cards, etc., a weak phone password is the least of her security worries.

Motorola Atrix Android solution (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162570)

The Motorola ATRIX has the solution to this problem with it's built in fingerprint scanner.

http://www.ur-news.com/review-att-motorola-atrix-4g.html

Re:Motorola Atrix Android solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162664)

finger print scanners are never the answer, you can probably lift the fingerprint of the owner from the phone itself.
Or with some finger print scanners, left it from the scanner even.

Re:Motorola Atrix Android solution (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162810)

Sure, there is technology to lift a fingerprint, reverse the image and create a mold and use it to fool the scanner, but let's be real. How many average hackers are going to go through this much trouble to hack into someone's phone. If you are a CIA operative maybe this doesn't ensure your protection, but for the average Joe, it's more than adequate.

Re:Motorola Atrix Android solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162744)

Only problem is all the other security issues with Android. If you're security conscious and really want to keep your information/data secure, BlackBerry is the only answer. If you don't care a whole lot iPhone would be the next secure. Finally if you really don't care at all about virus's / security etc. you can get an Android (Not flaming Droid, but if security is a concern, it's not the OS for you).

Honeycomb (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35162968)

Honeycomb will address this issue with a full data encryption option. While this will only be available on tablets initially, it will also make it into Ice Cream (2.4) for phones as well.

Come on people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35162868)

When are people going to learn that Microsoft has security issues. The open source and apple communities just provide better software.

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