Fraunhofer Institute, famous for their work developing the now-ubiquitous MP3 technology, demonstrated today a software program capable of bypassing the users secret passcode on any iOS device. Using this program they were able to retreive several passwords stored in the device’s keychain, in under 6 minutes.
The hack requires physical access to the device, so its use is limited to situations allowing this access (such as a lost iPhone). During the process the device is jailbroken, and a script uploaded to the device which bypasses the passcode entry screen, allowing full filesystem access. The hack works on all iPhone and iPad devices running the latest firmware versions.
The level of encryption used by iOS devices is generally considered very secure, being a 256-bit cipher. However the hack exploits a flaw in the encryption system: the user’s passcode is not actually used in the encryption process. The secret key that the encryption is based on is stored in the filesystem itself, allowing the hack to bypass the passcode entirely.
Once the encryption is bypassed the attacker has full access to all information stored in the device, including any saved passwords, email, SMS, access codes to VPNs and WLANs. The hacker can also potentially retrieve passwords from other accounts not stored on the device via requesting a password reset and authenticating through the users email account.