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

icloud_icon_blueEarlier 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.

"Use the script to hack her passwd...use eppb to download the backup," wrote one anonymous user on Anon-IB explaining the process to a less-experienced hacker. "Post your wins here ;-)"

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.

twostepverification
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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
75 months ago
The Fappening 2014. Never forget
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
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.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
The ripping process, which has been going on for months:




Lots of security holes here, including weak password reset verification questions.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
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
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
Interesting timing with Apple about to come out with a mobile payments system.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Gains HDR10+ and Dolby Vision Support, Plus Siri Voice Control

Thursday May 28, 2020 12:00 am PDT by
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is receiving a major update today, introducing much-desired features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. Designed by Signify as part of the Philip Hue line of lights and accessories, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to let Hue users sync their lights to their home entertainment systems. One of the major complaints about the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ...

APFS Bug in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina Impacts the Creation of Bootable Backups

Thursday May 28, 2020 3:47 am PDT by
An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post on Wednesday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that the CCC team had uncovered the issue in the Apple File System, or APFS, when attempting to create a bootable backup in a...