New Forensics Tool Can Slurp a Phone's Data via the Cloud

The police don't even need to touch your phone anymore to know how you've been using it. A new off-the-shelf forensics tool lets cops retrieve all the data they want from your iPhone by accessing its contents through iCloud.

The software, developed by ElcomSoft, lets investigators retrieve user data associated with iPhones from Apple's iCloud online backup service, reports The Register. There's a thorough descripton of how the technology works on ElcomSoft's website, but from The Register:

"iCloud backups offer a near real-time copy of information stored on iPhones including emails, call logs, text messages and website visits. iCloud backups are incremental. When set up to use the iCloud service, iPhones automatically connect to iCloud network and backup their content every time a docked device gets within reach of a Wi-Fi access point.

"'While other methods require the presence of the actual iPhone device being analyzed or at least an access to device backups this is not the case with iCloud,' ElcomSoft chief exec Vladimir Katalov explained. 'With a valid Apple ID and a password, investigators can not only retrieve backups to seized devices, but access that information in real-time while the phone is still in the hands of a suspect.'"

Of course, the solution does require access to the Apple ID and password of the person who's being snooped on and they might not be easy to obtain. But, once those details are in place, the data can be swiftly downloaded, unencrypted. Nice. [ElcomSoft via The Register]

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