Data Recovery Company DriveSavers announces a new service claiming that it can recover sensitive data from a locked smartphone, including particularly hard to destroy iOS devices. The company's service, called Passcode Lockout Data Recovery, is advertised for regular consumers and not apparently designed for law enforcement or other types of official cybersecurity business. Nevertheless The Verge could not directly verify the effectiveness of the tool, and the offer goes against many promises from Apple about the security of storage.
"The first service is offered solely to consumers who have forgotten device passwords, have been blocked by too many wrong attempts, and for those who need access to data stored on a deceased family member's device," the company's press release says. "Other companies offer a similar service for law enforcement only. DriveSavers is the first to offer a Passcode Lockout Data Recovery service to consumers. DriveSavers service is not available for law enforcement and requires proof of ownership before unlocking a device. "
In an email to The Verge a DriveSavers spokesperson says the service costs $ 3,900 per unit, but the company claims it will return your phone or tablet to you unlocked." Depending on the situation, We ask for death certificates, case documents, court documents or other legal documents. In the event of a death, we verify who is the executor of the state through interview and documentation, the spokesman says.
The company says the service is primarily designed for deceased family members to access locked devices but it would not reveal exactly how it could bypass security protocols on iOS or on Android devices. DriveSavers also announces its service for Windows machines, and the devices of a number of manufacturers like Huawei, Lenovo, LG and ZTE.
Of course, these claims invite some serious skepticism. Apple's iPhone is protected by a password locking system that even the FBI was unable to circumvent on its own, introducing a notorious showdown between Apple and the agency two years ago over the unlocking of the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5C. (Apple refused to build a special version of the FBI operating system that would include a back door. The FBI sued but eventually dropped the case.)
It's because the password on an iPhone is encrypted, so Apple can not even access a device when it is locked. There are ways to remotely disable the device, but retrieving information such as texts, pictures and other data on the device that is not stored in the cloud should be technically impossible, at least not without using a high level of vulnerability.
The FBI ultimately purchased the service of a third party company, allegedly up to $ 1 million, the details of which a federal judge ruled the FBI did not have to reveal the public for fear that it could be used by foreign opponents. Nevertheless, the utilization used in that case is assumed to cease to function as it was on the software architecture of an older version of iOS.
There are ways to retrieve information from a locked iPhone via iCloud by going through Apple directly with a keyword, but it's not a standard procedure for your everyday consumer and it does not seem to be what DriveSaver claims to have access to . There are also ways to spoof fingerprint data to access a device via Touch ID, as well as methods that enforcement has used to exploit weaknesses in the way iOS processes USB devices, especially the GrayKey hacking tool used by some law enforcement agencies to Apple evolved a method of blocking it completely.
DriveSavers does not seem to use any of these methods we know right now, but there is a possibility that the company has a simple tool that lets it read the data.