ElcomSoft's Latest Tool Can Allegedly Access iMessages in iCloud, But Only in Extreme Circumstances

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,641
10,957



Russian company ElcomSoft today claimed that the latest version of its Phone Breaker software can remotely access iMessage conversation histories stored in iCloud, although there are several strings attached.


Namely, the person attempting to extract iMessages from an iCloud account would need the following before being able to do so:Elcomsoft Phone Breaker version 8.3
The associated Apple ID email and password for the iCloud account
The passcode, if an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or system password, if a Mac, of at least one device on the account enrolled in Messages in iCloud, which requires iOS 11.4 and macOS 10.13.5 or later
Access to a two-factor authentication method, such as a trusted secondary device, which may or may not have the same passcode or system password, or a SIM card for a phone number that has been authorized to receive one-time verification codes via SMSIt's worth noting that if the perpetrator has obtained physical access to at least one of your trusted secondary devices, and its passcode, they would be able to read at least part of your iMessage history regardless by simply opening the Messages app.

Apple obviously cares very deeply about the security of its customers, but if a bad actor has gained access to another person's Apple ID credentials, your passcode, and at least one of your Apple devices, or your SIM card, there arguably isn't really much the company can do at that point to protect you.

That's why it's so important, as Apple routinely stresses, to set a strong password for your Apple ID, not share that password with others, enable two-factor authentication, and keep careful possession of your devices. It also helps to set a strong alphanumeric passcode on an iOS device, rather than a four-digit one.

Apple says iMessages are protected with end-to-end encryption, and notes that messages can't be accessed by anyone without your device passcode. As an additional safeguard, Apple requires that users have two-factor authentication turned on for their Apple ID accounts to enable Messages in iCloud.


ElcomSoft's tool seems to be taking advantage of the fact that, if iCloud Backups are turned on, a copy of the encryption key protecting iMessages is included in the backup, according to a support document on Apple's website:
If you have iCloud Backup turned on, a copy of the key protecting your Messages is included in your backup. This ensures you can recover your Messages if you've lost access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices. When you turn off iCloud Backup, a new key is generated on your device to protect future messages and it is not stored by Apple.
Given the extenuating circumstances required, the vast majority of users shouldn't have anything to worry about. But it's a good reminder to maintain strong security practices on all of your devices to stay safe.

Article Link: ElcomSoft's Latest Tool Can Allegedly Access iMessages in iCloud, But Only in Extreme Circumstances
 

nfl46

macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
7,279
5,493
Oops, it says, "Russian company..." I'm fairly sure this is fake news, right?

Interesting story, though.
 

redneckitengineer

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2017
420
937
How is this any bit of a hack? You basically have to be the owner of the account to have that much of the information required to make this work. This helps no one.
 

Mikey44

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2012
140
333
This is marketing at it's finest.

Elcomsoft Phone Breaker allows you remote access to users iCloud iMessages!*

*Only if you have access to the physical device that's a trusted device on the account, the account username and password, and the passcode of one of the devices. Why wouldn't you just view the iMessages on the device you ask? We don't make money that way, so buy our product please. It works great! Promise!


So silly...
 

Jetfire

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2008
375
332
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
How is even news? Is Macrumors using bot to write articles? Did it just pick up a news release for this company and make a story out of it? The moral of the story is, I can access your stuff if you give me access to you stuff.
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
605
453
Namely, the person attempting to extract iMessages from an iCloud account would need the following before being able to do so:
  • Elcomsoft Phone Breaker version 8.3
  • The associated Apple ID email and password for the iCloud account
  • The passcode, if an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or system password, if a Mac, of at least one device on the account enrolled in Messages in iCloud, which requires iOS 11.4 and macOS 10.13.5 or later
  • Access to a two-factor authentication method, such as a trusted secondary device, which may or may not have the same passcode or system password, or a SIM card for a phone number that has been authorized to receive one-time verification codes via SMS
I'm pretty sure the whole POINT of the system is that you can get access with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th bullet points without the Elcomsoft product.

I mean "we can totally hack an account if we have the user's password, physical device, and two-factor method" isn't exactly much of a sales pitch. I can "hack" the account myself with the same set of requirements. You, know, by simply logging in.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,252
12,212
Europe
HEY YOU KNOW WHAT I found a security hole in my bank's ATMs, if someone has my card and PIN they can take out my cash!!! HOLY CRAP WHAT WILL WE DO NOW!??!
I've totally figured out how to access *anyone's* home! You'll need:

Their permission
Door key(s)
Alarm code(s)
Familiarity with their killer wiener dog, Bunz
Friendships with their neighbors as to not arouse suspicion

..and you are *totally* in!

Enjoy!
I came here hoping to see these sarcastic replies. I was not disappointed.

Yea, this whole article is garbage. I've seen mods on the forum delete more legitimate posts than this article.
 

Soba

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2003
273
306
Rochester, NY
I don't understand this story, but I loved this part:

"Apple obviously cares very deeply about the security of its customers[…]"

I am grateful that Apple is so emotionally invested in and selflessly benevolent toward all of us. This sounds even worse than a press release. :rolleyes:
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.