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Old May 10, 2013, 10:31 AM   #1
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Apple Has Backlog of Requests From Police to Unlock Seized iPhones




Apple has created a 'waiting list' for law enforcement requests to unlock seized iOS devices, according to a report from CNET.

The article notes a case in Kentucky where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was the lead agency, and investigators contacted Apple for assistance after they were unable to locate any law enforcement agency in the country with the forensic capabilities to unlock an iPhone crucial to the case.

The agency contacted Apple but was told by a representative in Apple's litigation group that there would be a seven-week delay.
Quote:
The ATF's Maynard said in an affidavit for the Kentucky case that Apple "has the capabilities to bypass the security software" and "download the contents of the phone to an external memory device." Chang, the Apple legal specialist, told him that "once the Apple analyst bypasses the passcode, the data will be downloaded onto a USB external drive" and delivered to the ATF.

It's not clear whether that means Apple has created a backdoor for police -- which has been the topic of speculation in the past -- whether the company has custom hardware that's faster at decryption, or whether it simply is more skilled at using the same procedures available to the government. Apple declined to discuss its law enforcement policies when contacted this week by CNET.
While it's easy to erase an iPhone when it has been locked, for law enforcement, it appears to be considerably more difficult -- but not impossible -- to retrieve data from seized devices.

In its privacy policy, Apple says it may disclose personal information "by law, legal process, litigation, and/or requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence" or "if we determine that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate."

Article Link: Apple Has Backlog of Requests From Police to Unlock Seized iPhones
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:31 AM   #2
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Seems strange as there are products that can do it for them. Then again that means they have to purchase software rather than just file a free request with Apple.
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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There is a guy in my local mall who will do it for them for only 15...
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:34 AM   #4
technopimp
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Hmm...this seems a little vague:

Quote:
if we determine that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:36 AM   #5
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I always wondered this. Apple has to have a way to bypass security passcodes, but I'm assuming only a handful of people actually can.
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:39 AM   #6
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If Apple has a way, then that is a security hole waiting for the jail-breakers to discover.
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technopimp View Post
Hmm...this seems a little vague:
No doubt that's intentional. "Let's give ourselves massive scope, and cover ourselves as much as possible; and hope users don't read the policy (& EULAs) and raise a fuss about the implications." I'd imagine it's the same at most/all companies.
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by technopimp View Post
Hmm...this seems a little vague:
Of course it is, and deliberately so.
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:49 AM   #9
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Of course! All those obscure combinations of pressing buttons for specific amounts of times to get around the lockscreen aren't bugs - they're the secret backdoor Apple left for themselves!
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nightarchaon View Post
If Apple has a way, then that is a security hole waiting for the jail-breakers to discover.
Unlikely. Apple has a ramdisk that they execute via DFU/iBoot that allows access to the filesystem, very similar to the ones used by forensic companies.

However, since the iPhone 4S and beyond, these ramdisks stopped working for forensic companies when Apple made the bootrom DFU code bulletproof (there are no exploits for it).

Only Apple can make their ramdisk work on the device because they have to codesign it with their private key AND obtain the proper personalisation signing for the device's identifiers and random NONCE. (Getting all these signatures for production devices could be time consuming without a lot of pre-existing tools to automate it. The personalisation process also varies between 4S/5/iPad 2/iPad 3/iPad mini. Normally iTunes mediates this during device restores to production iOS releases).

Last edited by andyplace; May 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Fixing autocorrect typos
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by AppleMark View Post
There is a guy in my local mall who will do it for them for only 15...
and 'mall' in the same sentence - culture clash!
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Old May 10, 2013, 10:58 AM   #12
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Makes me wonder about the Filevault 2 encryption and if Apple has any back doors in it.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by article
In its privacy policy, Apple says it may disclose personal information "by law, legal process, litigation, and/or requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence" or "if we determine that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate."
I have concerns Apple is using the "if we determine that for purposes of . . ." portion of the text to assist authorities with bypassing security purchased with the device. Even if the justification is some sort of legal order, Apple is not required to extend special skills to that end. That is a choice.

The police may feel they are permitted, contrary to constitutional language, to have unlimited access to people's "papers and things", but that is not the case. Even court ordered requests to produce are limited to what is available and possible. Lots of production requests go unfilled because of intentional destruction of evidence, encryption, and many other means.

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Old May 10, 2013, 11:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jsameds View Post
and 'mall' in the same sentence - culture clash!
Maybe, maybe not... Maybe it depends on how limited your ability is to deduce otherwise....?
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by iVoid View Post
Makes me wonder about the Filevault 2 encryption and if Apple has any back doors in it.
Well they do store your password...
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleMark View Post
There is a guy in my local mall who will do it for them for only 15...
Without erasing any data?
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:12 AM   #17
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I thought ifunbox gave access to the filesystem of a locked ios device. I must be mistaken.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iVoid View Post
Makes me wonder about the Filevault 2 encryption and if Apple has any back doors in it.
Four digit passcode. Ten thousand attempts.

You know you can change the passcode to more digits, or to digits and letters? The encryption is designed so that each possible password takes about a tenth of a second to try. So 8 digits will take about four months.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightarchaon View Post
If Apple has a way, then that is a security hole waiting for the jail-breakers to discover.
No it's not. Removing the password through a function built into the OS doesn't allow you to gain the root access you need to be able to compile and run custom software. These are two totally different things.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsameds View Post
and 'mall' in the same sentence - culture clash!
it hurt my head , ive lived in San Diego USA and Manchester UK, and no where in the UK can i find anywhere i would call a MALL, although the trafford centre does come close.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iVoid View Post
Makes me wonder about the Filevault 2 encryption and if Apple has any back doors in it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Four digit passcode. Ten thousand attempts.
FileValut doesn't limit passwords to 4 digits. Also users can change their iPhone settings to allow long passwords.

FileVault does not have a backdoor. Some government agencies do have systems that can crack it in as little as a few minutes though.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
I have concerns Apple is using the "if we determine that for purposes of . . ." portion of the text to assist authorities with bypassing security purchased with the device. Even if the justification is some sort of legal order, Apple is not required to extend special skills to that end. That is a choice.

The police may feel they are permitted, contrary to constitutional language, to have unlimited access to people's "papers and things", but that is not the case. Even court ordered requests to produce are limited to what is available and possible. Lots of production requests go unfilled because of intentional destruction of evidence, encryption, and many other means.

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Uuuuuuh, you are totally incorrect. If there is a subpoena issued (which there would be if they are searching a suspect device) then Apple is required to provide any help they can. If they had the ability to remove the device password and did not, they could be cited with obstruction of justice and the *****torm that would cause for them.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightarchaon View Post
If Apple has a way, then that is a security hole waiting for the jail-breakers to discover.
Of course there is a security hole if you have a four digit passcode.

Try 0 0 0 0.
Try 0 0 0 1.
Try 0 0 0 2.

and so on.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:24 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Four digit passcode. Ten thousand attempts.

You know you can change the passcode to more digits, or to digits and letters? The encryption is designed so that each possible password takes about a tenth of a second to try. So 8 digits will take about four months.
The 8 didgit is also alphanumeric. Far, far, far more than 8 months.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:24 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Without erasing any data?
"Yes of course!!!"

...Well that's what he will probably tell them once they have given him the 15... I mean, they cannot access the phone so will not know what data is missing in any case.

I am sure the suspect is not going cry about any missing data in these circumstances..
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Of course there is a security hole if you have a four digit passcode.

Try 0 0 0 0.
Try 0 0 0 1.
Try 0 0 0 2.

and so on.
Are you sure?

Are you really really sure?

Are you really really really sure?

Because there's an option (yes, I know, it's not mandatory) that will erase your phone after 10 failed attempts.
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