Elcomsoft releases iPhone 4 password cracker

Apple changed the iPhone 4 software in a way that makes it easier to recover the plain-text password used to encrypt data

Russian password-cracking company Elcomsoft has released new software that can in some instances figure out the password used to encrypt backed-up iPhone data.

Elcomsoft said Apple somewhat changed the way their encryption system works for its latest iPhone 4 software. When an iPhone is plugged into its home computer, its data -- such as e-mail passwords, calendar events, text messages -- are automatically backed up in a so-called "keychain."

That information was previously encrypted using a device-specific encryption key, but with "iOS 4 this is not necessarily the case" if someone choose a master password to access the data, according to Elcomsoft.

If a person chooses to encrypt the data, the backup is encrypted with a master password selected by a user. But if the person can't remember their password, the data can't be restored to an iPhone. A user would have to do a full software restore and set up a new backup, with all of the other data lost.

But Elcomsoft says it can figure a password out with its latest iPhone Password Breaker application. The company says that Apple's encryption of the backup is excellent, as the passwords can only be figured out using brute-force attacks, where a computer tries millions upon millions of possible combinations, or dictionary attacks, which use lists of commonly used words.

Elcomsoft said its software doesn't have a 100 percent success rate, but if a person selects a short and simple password, it could be recovered in seconds. Other factors in how long its software takes to recover a password depends on a person's computer and the power of its CPU and graphics card.

Once the password is recovered, Elcomsoft said its software allows a person to examine their keychain and export that data into XML (Extensible Markup Language) or plain text document.

The iPhone Password Breaker is legal for people to use on their own backups or if they have the permission from someone to examine their iPhone. The software costs £79 (US$126) for the home edition and £199 for the professional edition.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iOS 4telecommunicationsecuritypasswordsAccess control and authenticationElcomsoftsoftwareMobile operating systemsencryptionmobileApple

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?