The Russian-made tool that grabs nude selfies from iCloud accounts

Elcomsoft said it is aware pirated copies of its Phone Password Breaker software are circulating in the underground

Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker

Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker

There's a seedy trade in compromising photos stored in Apple iCloud accounts, and it is in part aided by a software program that cleanly collects the data.

Some of the nude celebrity photos are believed to have first been circulated on Anon-IB, a definitely not safe-for-work forum. As reported by Wired, the forum is full of offers for iCloud "ripping," or downloading the entire contents of an account.

The software tool they're using is Moscow-based Elcomsoft's Phone Password Breaker, or EPPB, one of many forensic tools the company develops for law enforcement and other clients.

Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov said via email on Wednesday that there are legitimate uses for his company's software and that it doesn't exploit flaws in Apple services.

Apple has denied it was breached, saying the celebrities were victims of targeted attacks that sought their user names, passwords and security questions.

Elcomsoft doesn't restrict who it sells EPPB to, Katalov said, and over time the software has been sold and then leaked to underground websites.

The problem of pirated software isn't unique to Elcomsoft. Companies such as Microsoft have built technical defenses into their software to try to prevent piracy.

EPPB comes into play after a victim's Apple ID and password have been compromised by other means. The software can pull text messages, attachments, call logs, address books, calendars, email account settings, photos and other information in a few minutes.

Of course, if someone already knows the person's Apple credentials, they could recover the data anyway, but in a slower fashion. Katalov said a hacker could set up a new device and restore it with the victim's iCloud data.

Even with EPPB, downloading a large backup for the first time could take hours, Elcomsoft advises on its website. But users that need data fast, such as law enforcement officials, can select data piecemeal to download it faster.

It appears quite a few people on Anon-IB have a pirated copy of EPPB. Many offer to use their copy of EPPB on iCloud accounts for which the credentials have been obtained by others, promising to quickly return the data for free, presumably so they can have a peek at what's in it.

One posting on Anon-IB read: "Ripping right now! Send email with Apple ID and Password and I will have it ripping ASAP. Will keep everything private!"

So far, it appears only photos of the celebrities have been publicly released. But the hackers in control of the accounts could also have text messages, call logs and a host of other data if the victim had chosen to back up the data in iCloud.

Apple has advised that iCloud customers use two-factor authentication as an additional protection, which involves entering a one-time passcode when logging on.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleElcomsoft

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?