Feeds

iPhone security cracked, smacked and broken

3GS cheerfully decrypts itself, says researcher

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A researcher has delved into the encryption used to protect content on the iPhone 3GS, only to claim it is "entirely useless" and that he had "[never] seen encryption implemented so poorly before".

Jonathan Zdziarski spent a couple of minutes demonstrating to Wired that he could copy and decrypt secured information from an iPhone. He removed the SIM to disable any remote-wipe procedures - demonstrating a security risk and concluding that "Apple may be technically correct that [the iPhone 3GS] has an encryption piece in it, but it’s entirely useless toward[s] security".

Earlier iPhone models don't use encrypted storage, but from the demonstrations performed for Wired, it seems that the iPhone 3GS will happily, and automatically, decrypt information as it's copied from the device using a remotely-installed shell - rendering the encryption pointless at best.

Apple might have demonstrated their inability to implement decent cryptographic protection of the content, but few phone systems even bother to make the attempt. With the notable exception of RIM's BlackBerry devices, it's best to assume that once an attacker has physical possession of the phone he'll gain access to the contents pretty quickly. Legally-used forensic software spends most of its time maintaining a legally-verifiable audit trail, rather than using clever techniques to extract the data.

There is an argument that implementing such weak security is worse than not bothering at all. Apple appears to be lending users a false confidence while allowing miscreants free access. But it seems unlikely that many enterprise customers were relying on Apple's encryption to protect their corporate secrets, and if they were, then they should think again. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable
Don't worry, it'll be cheaper when they use drones
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?