Some of the nude celebrity photos are believed to have first been circulated on Anon-IB, a definitely not safe-for-work forum.
Apple has denied it was breached, saying the celebrities were victims of targeted attacks that sought their user names, passwords and security questions. Companies such as Microsoft have built technical defenses into their software to try to prevent piracy.
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The software can pull text messages, attachments, call logs, address books, calendars, email account settings, photos and other information in a few minutes. Even with EPPB, downloading a large backup for the first time could take hours, Elcomsoft advises on its website.
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But users that need data fast, such as law enforcement officials, can select data piecemeal to download it faster. Will keep everything private!
One of Anon-IB's rippers who uses the handle cloudprivates wrote in an email to WIRED that he or she doesn't consider downloading files from an iCloud backup "hacking" if it's done on behalf of another user who supplies a username and password. This way I just provide a service to someone that wants the data off the iCloud. For all I know they own the iCloud," cloudprivates writes.
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I simply copy data from the iCloud using the user name and password that I am given. Software from elcomsoft does this.
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For Apple, the use of government forensic tools by criminal hackers raises questions about how cooperative it may be with Elcomsoft. The Russian company's tool, as Zdziarski describes it, doesn't depend on any "backdoor" agreement with Apple and instead required Elcomsoft to fully reverse engineer Apple's protocol for communicating between iCloud and its iOS devices.
But Zdziarski argues that Apple could still have done more to make that reverse engineering more difficult or impossible. The fact that Apple isn't complicit in law enforcement's use of Elcomsoft's for surveillance doesn't make the tool any less dangerous, argues Matt Blaze, a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and frequent critic of government spying methods.
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But even if you do trust law enforcement, you have to ask whether other people will get access to these tools, and how they'll use them. View Comments. Sponsored Stories Powered By Outbrain. More security.