iCloud Forensics – Compromised Platform Examination

MailXaminer | January 18th, 2021 | Forensics

iCloud is a free of cost cloud storage and computing service designed and rendered by Apple. The primary motto of introducing this service allows its users to store their data remotely and make it flexibly accessible (via browser access) despite the unavailability of the user’s device. The storage supports all essential data of an Apple device, including Music, Pictures, Applications, Contacts, Videos, and other assorted storage. Accessing the iCloud account enables users to not only use the data but also share it over to another user with an iOS 5 and above-configured Apple device.

The synchronization feature of the service makes it more special, for users who have their mobile devices connected to an iCloud account. They do not need to take data backups separately. The data on their iPhones/iPads are regularly synched and securely stored in the cloud storage of their respective iCloud accounts. By setting up iTunes on the user machine, users can also generate Apple data backup and save the data locally rather than remotely.

Security and iCloud Vulnerability

The above discussion brings the focus of attention because the extensive dependency of Apple users is on iCloud. Apple gives guaranteed security of its user’s data stored on the iCloud storage. However, coincidentally the cases of iCloud vulnerability to hacking are late emerged.

Digital safety has become a major concern nowadays as compared to the bygone days. In the recent catastrophe, iCloud accounts of popular celebrities were hacked which leads to the obvious misuse of data stored in the accounts, i.e. leak of bare pictures. Sometimes, the privacy intrusion of the service led to situations that are against the safety measures guaranteed by Apple. The security breach on accounts got highlighted because it involves celebrities or VIP personalities. However, it clearly shows the reality of showcase security that Apple has implemented in securing its iCloud accounts.

Forensically Examining iCloud Storage

The breach of security shows the security level of iCloud data implemented by Apple. In order to access such sensitive and private data belonging to a user, simply enter the respective account holder’s login credentials. The absence of multi-layered security is evident.

Vulnerability towards such majorly destructive attacks are led to the requirement of applying forensic science while examining the iCloud storage. It helps to find out how the hackers got access to user’s accounts and how this loophole can be filled to avoid such occurrences in the future.

In order to test the environment and perform an iCloud analysis at the same time, the investigation revealed two strategies that can be implemented to examine this data leak. Two ways to carry out the iCloud forensics are:

  • Manual Workarounds
    There are some manual methods available for this task and some of them work perfectly which includes local attacks and the device is connected to Wi-Fi. It can be done by retrieving the pairing code used by an Apple device to connect with Wi-Fi. By doing this, there are high chances that its data can be backed up by spoofing the machine via Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • iCloud Analysis Utilities
    These applications are specially programmed to get the user to pull out data stored on an iCloud account for investigation purposes. Such professional tools are supposed to be specifically implemented by law enforcement or for other legal purposes only.

However, as far as the security measures stand currently, the storage can be hacked easily by either gaining physical access to the device or crack the credentials of the iCloud account. Technically speaking, all that is required to access an iCloud account is the user’s login credentials. Anyone can use the login details and get direct access to the account data without having to testify that they are the authorized account holder.

Use Efficient Forensic Application for Apple iCloud Analysis

MailXaminer is a renowned Email Examination Tool that allows investigating the hosted server and Cloud-based storage successfully. iCloud is supported as part of its web-based environment for investigation. Forensic examiners can conduct filtered/non–filtered examination of data stored on an iCloud account using the credentials that are taken by the investigators in custody. Once the storage is acquired and read by the application, it can be examined through the featured scanners by applying Advanced Searches, Filters, Skin Tone Analysis on videos and images based media, and more can be done. The application can be implemented to use for advanced forensic analysis of iCloud data to accomplish iCloud Forensics.

iCloud Forensics

Conclusion

iCloud services are rendered by Apple which is used widely because of its advanced feature and top-level security. But, recently iCloud accounts hacked by cybercriminals clear the fact that its multi-layered security is apparent. Hackers only need login credentials to access sensitive or personal data of users saved on iCloud accounts. In this write-up, we suggested two ways for Apple iCloud forensic analysis i.e. Manual Workaround and, iCloud Analysis Utilities.

MailXaminer is one of the Best Forensic Tools that is widely using by forensic investigators to extract evidence from suspected data. It has a wide variety of inbuilt features which makes the analysis process convenient and less time-consuming.