Russian firm cracks Apple iOS 4 hardware encryption

Russian security firm ElcomSoft says it has just cracked Apple’s iOS 4 hardware encryption and is offering the software tools used in cracking the devices to government and military agencies. There is a chance, however, that the tools necessary to crack the encryption will eventually find its way to other sources.

The crack works by allowing the user to get a hold of a number of keys on the device. The software then uses a brute-force method of decrypting each key, and on devices like the iPhone 4 it can take only up to 40 minutes with a four-digit key. explains:

Rather than relying on a hardware dump from such a device, which will be encrypted amd may be missing some of the important data a forensic investigation needs, ElcomSoft can now gain full access to what is stored on a gadget such as the iPhone 4. This includes historical information such as geolocation data, browsing history, call history, text messages and emails, usernames, and passwords. They can even recover data deleted by the user from the device.

As if accessing your location data and history wasn’t scary enough, this new crack might be able to expose your entire usage and history with the phone – from text messages, e-mails, photos, web history and more! For many of us, our entire lives are conducted via smartphones, especially the iPhone or iPad, and it’s a bit unnerving to know that an entire record of our activity with it can be accessed (if all these claims are 100% true, that is).

The only catch is that whoever is cracking the information for the device has to have the device in his or her possession. Otherwise, just gaining bits of info without the smartphone or tablet itself might not be of much use. And while the likelihood that your device will ever be subjected to this is slim, keep it close and don’t let it fall into the wrong hands!

[Via: Geek, VentureBeat]

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