Hackers Using Law Enforcement Tools to Access iCloud Backups Unprotected by Two-Factor Authentication

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier today, Apple issued a press release stating that an iCloud/Find My iPhone breach had not been responsible for the leak of several private celebrity photos over the weekend, instead pointing towards a "very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions" hackers used to gain access to celebrity accounts.

    The company did not divulge specific details on how hackers accessed the iCloud accounts, leading Wired writer Andy Greenberg to investigate the methods that hackers might possibly have used to acquire the stolen media.

    Greenberg visited Anon-IB, a popular anonymous image board where some of the celebrity photos first originated, and discovered that hackers openly discuss exploiting software designed for law enforcement and government officials. Called ElcomSoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB), the software in question lets hackers enter a stolen username and password to obtain a victim's full iPhone/iPad backup.
    Acquiring just a user name and password allows hackers access to content on iCloud.com, but with the accompaniment of the ElcomSoft software, a complete backup can reportedly be downloaded into easy-to-access folders filled with the device's contents.

    According to security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski, who spoke to Wired, metadata from some of the leaked photos is in line with the use of the ElcomSoft software and possibly the iBrute software, which exploited a vulnerability in Find My iPhone to allow hackers unlimited attempts to guess a password. Apple has, however, patched the exploit, and has suggested iBrute was not a factor in the attacks.

    As noted by TechCrunch, using ElcomSoft's software to download an iPhone's backup successfully circumvents two-factor verification as the two-factor authentication system does not cover iCloud backups or Photo Stream.

    Two-factor verification can make it much more difficult for hackers to acquire a user's login credentials in the first place, preventing many attacks, but an iCloud backup can be installed with just a user name and a password.

    The ElcomSoft software does not require any credentials to buy and while it costs $399, it is also available on bittorrent sites. The vulnerability in iCloud backups has been known for some time, with ElcomSoft's own CEO pointing towards the lack of two-factor authentication for iCloud backups back in May of 2013.

    Apple has explored expanding two-factor authentication to some iCloud services, but an official expansion of the security feature has not yet been introduced.

    Article Link: Hackers Using Law Enforcement Tools to Access iCloud Backups Unprotected by Two-Factor Authentication
  2. macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2012
    The Fappening 2014. Never forget
  3. macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    the plot thickens
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    Another attack vector.

    Not sure why Apple allows outside vendors access to their cloud?

    The worst part is that Elcomsoft documents these holes, and Apple has no reason to keep open.

    Also, Elcomsoft has Windows Live exploits available as well.
  5. macrumors 603


    Oct 21, 2008
    I think you need to change the headline for this article, so you are not claiming that someones opinion is fact.

    Hackers Using Law Enforcement Tools to Access iCloud Backups Unprotected by Two-Factor Authentication

    Should be changed to:

    Hackers May Be Using Law Enforcement Tools to Access iCloud Backups Unprotected by Two-Factor Authentication
  6. macrumors demi-god


    Jan 18, 2012
    Jesus H Christ this is terrible,sexy,but terrible
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    The ripping process, which has been going on for months:

    Lots of security holes here, including weak password reset verification questions.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Mar 2, 2010
    There is good to come of all this

    I suspect by year end, Photos in iCloud, iCloud Backups, everything, will all be encrypted.
  9. macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2007
    It seems there are no end if tricks available to the scumbags out there willing to do hurtful things.

    However, bottom line (pun intended) is, if you want nude snaps of yourself, fine, take some, but don't keep them on your phone or in the cloud where they are most vulnerable.

    While I have some sympathy for the victims, I also believe ignorance is not really an excuse these days.

    People have to accept more responsibility for their actions, even if the consequences are far beyond what they initially imagined. The sad fact is in our cottonwool society is far easier to blame everyone else for everything than accept some responsibility personally. If you don't agree then you're part of the problem.
  10. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Good thing I back up to iTunes locally and not iCloud. Though my Photo Stream could still be compromised. But it'd be quite boring to a hacker. I mostly have pictures of coffee and espresso and song titles from my car radio that I want to look up later!
  11. macrumors 68030

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Interesting timing with Apple about to come out with a mobile payments system.
  12. macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2009
    They should be already encrypted. But the so called hacker has your password, which can decrypt the encrypted data. :D
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2002
    I'm surprised backups don't use two step authentication. This is a bad move by Apple.
  14. macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2008
    Let's hope so. Regardless whether Apple was at fault this incident is giving them a PR black eye... right before their big Sept. 9 reveal.



    EXACTLY lololol

  15. macrumors 65816


    Mar 19, 2014
    Seems like some of these "hacks"can be used on any site you can think of. Pretty scary.

    I don't know how any company can prevent things like this.

    Couple that with weak or same passwords across multiple sites and it becomes easy for anyone to do this.
  16. macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2007
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    If, and that obviously is an IF, that is what happened then Apple should not claim that the images were not stolen due to weaknesses in their security. In fact, this is an even bigger potential hole in their security in my opinion. And to those who want to make it the victims fault that these photos were stolen: You are messed up in the head.
  17. macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2009
    Once it is on the internet, it is never secured.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Center of the Nation
    i still don't understand how they got their username/email address
  19. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Social engineering, the black web, search engines and such, plus a ring of underground bad guys collaborating, together, achieve this and more.
  20. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Yes, this headline is VERY misleading.
  21. haruhiko, Sep 2, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014

    macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2009
    Just tried the step suggested by these guys.

    Well, the security questions are really dumb! I entered an e-mail address of a friend and entered the birthday. Then I was asked: what is your hometown? WTF everybody knows this guy's hometown! :eek: I didn't go any further but it made me very worried about my security questions. I'd better enter some password like stuff in the answer fields.
  22. macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2007
    Sigh. No.

    The 2-factor authentication Apple has set up works specifically to stop people from guessing/researching/finding answers to your "security questions" (by actually eliminating all security questions). This stops them from resetting your password, thus gaining access to your iCloud account, thus gaining access to your iPhone backups.

    Therefore it WOULD in fact have stopped the iCloud backup "hacks" conducted, at least those conducted by the n00bs on AnonIB. They are specifically laying out the method they use in step by step instructions. They are not haxxors, they are not the NSA, they are not brute forcing passwords, they do not have skillz. They are just researching info on people, then going to appleid.apple.com and resetting passwords.

    Jeez. Fact check anyone?

    Would it be better if Apple prevented restores/downloads of iPhone backups without a trusted device being present? Yes. Would that step be necessary to stop the "hackers" in question? No. These guys are not even script kiddies. They are literally just filling out fields on a web site to get these pics.

    In short, ignore the implied "the sky is falling" in this post.

    DO enable 2-factor authentication on your apple id.

    DO also tell Apple to increase their 2-factor authentication to prevent even more things.

    But do not imagine that your iCloud account is somehow going to be magically hacked even if you set-up 2-factor authentication (and are smart enough to use a longish, randomish password).
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2002
    Hacked friends or family. Personal assists, business associates, or stolen off business documents by some low-level employee. Social engineering of the person or people who would know the address.

    Even your local Apple Genius could help one of these celebrities or their assistants & they would have access to all of their info.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2009
    Just tried my own accounts with 2-step verification enabled. Apple requested me to enter my recovery key (I remember I stored them on my laptop) once after I entered my e-mail address.
  25. macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2008
    There is a problem with this. If you get a new phone, it won't be able to decrypt the backup/files unless it has the private key. If encryption keys are stored on the server (iCloud account), anyone would be able to decrypt as long as they can get into the account. Good idea, but difficult to implement, as with anything that uses file encryption.

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