October 1, 2016

ElcomSoft Launches New Software To Crack BlackBerry Device Passwords

(LiveHacking.Com) – ElcomSoft have released a new version of their Phone Password Breaker (EPPB), with the ability to recover passwords protecting BlackBerry phones. Data on a BlackBerry can be protected using a password (known as the the device password) which needs to be entered every time the device it being switched on, or optionally, after a certain timeout. If the wrong password is entered more than 10 times in a row all the data on the phone is erased.

It was previously thought that cracking this device password was impossible, however now ElcomSoft say that it can be cracked in a matter of hours without any danger to the data on the phone.

However there is a caveat. To work, Media Card encryption needs to be configured and set to either “Security Password” or “Device Password” mode.

ElcomSoft estimates that about 30 per cent of all BlackBerry smartphone users opt to protect their media cards with this option, making their devices open to this attack.

To crack the password EPPB only needs the media card from the device. Using a PC with an Intel i7-970, EPPB can try 1.8 million passwords per second in wordlist mode, and about 5.9 million passwords per second in bruteforce mode.

 

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Comments

  1. We are following up with you regarding the article about the tool that Elcomsoft claims can be used to guess BlackBerry smartphone passwords. The following is from the BlackBerry Security Incident Response Team (BBSIRT).

    The article states that the tool uses a brute-force attack to guess the smartphone password by attempting to decrypt the contents of a media card that has been removed from the smartphone. For this tool to do what Elcomsoft claims, an IT administrator or the smartphone user must have chosen to encrypt the contents of the media card with the smartphone password only. Furthermore, an attacker must have access to the media card from the smartphone, and the tool would have to successfully guess the password. To then use the password to unlock the smartphone, that attacker would also have to have access to the smartphone.

    For stronger protection, users can choose to encrypt the contents of an optional media card, choose the option to encrypt using a device key or the combination of a device key and the device password. See Enforcing encryption of internal and external file systems on BlackBerry devices for more information.

    To increase the difficulty of guessing passwords, RIM recommends that users always use strong passwords. A strong password has the following characteristics: includes punctuation marks, numbers, capital and lowercase letters does not include the user name, account name, or any word or phrase that would be easily guessed.

    The security of mobile devices and major networked systems is tested by third party security researchers every day. RIM also continually tests the security of its own products, and volunteers its products to recognized industry experts for security testing and certification to help identify possible security vulnerabilities and protect BlackBerry customers against potential security threats.

    For information on BlackBerry security, visit http://www.blackberry.com/security.

  2. First of all we want to thank BlackBerry Security Incident Response Team for their comments and would like to add some more information.

    As already mentioned, BlackBerry smartphones can be protected with an individual security password (device password) which is requested every time the device it being turned on or after a certain timeout and in case a wrong password is entered ten times in a row, all information on the BlackBerry smartphone is wiped clear, which makes brute-force attack absolutely pointless.

    Though BlackBerry media card encryption is optional, sometimes it’s switched on by default. For example, in BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) configuration this media card encryption is disabled by default, however in BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) configuration such encryption is enabled by default to provide a securer access to data by intention, and at the same time making it possible to recover the original device password with a simple dictionary or brute-force attack.

    Thus, with an enabled device password the whole security depends on length and complexity of a password. But here we encounter two more security problems. First, a really strong and complex password will only irritate users in reality and bring more inconveniences in using a smartphone. Second, even a strong password becomes amazingly “bruteforcable” (i.e. several million passwords per second on a modern multi-core CPU, now just think about using GPU acceleration technology), especially when compared to iPhone passcode recovery speed (i.e. only 6 passcodes per second). Well, we agree that strong passwords matter.

    EPPB page http://www.elcomsoft.com/eppb.html