That honeymoon didn't last long

From OSX to iPods, iTunes to Mac Minis, and all other things Apple.

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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:33 am

I didn't post a link to the Enterprise Deployment guide because I couldn't find it on Apple's website. They've changed their document structure.
Here is a more recent document that deals with the same subject:

http://images.apple.com/ipad/business/d ... _Feb14.pdf

Review page 18.

FireGryphon wrote:I'm well-acquainted with the intricacies of encryption and the security tradeoffs there are, but my whole point here is that I'm incredulous that an Apple product is putting me through the same ridiculousness I remember from the early Win95 days, what with workarounds, reinstalling the OS, and using third party programs to perform basic functions (which is still a symptom of Windows, come to think of it...).


It isn't ridiculous and it isn't a "basic function". On the contrary, preventing easily cracked encryption is both very serious and a very essential function. Indeed, it is something that IOS 6 and 7 are certified by the government to be doing properly:

http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/do ... 3.htm#2020

That's just one example, the rest of the links are here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5808

If you want even more information:

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/docs ... _Oct12.pdf


You are completely wrong. There is no "trade-off" to be had. If you can "easily" crack it so can anyone else! Encryption is Encryption is Encryption. Either it works, or it doesn't. There is no analogue to RFC 3514 for encryption, and there never will be either.

You are literally complaining that IOS works CORRECTLY.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:19 am

Yo dawg, that's what I said in the 3rd post. Hey, does bit locker offer some magic rescue for a container that you passworded and forgot? Or is that tied into windows passwords? I never used it so I don't know. True crypt has a rescue disk that you can make but it also goes out of its way to give you plausible deniability if you want, too. I just don't know of many mass market encryption schemes that are easy to recover from without doing some due diligence at the front end. I lost my phone and now I can't get to my battle net account without sending in my picture ID to blizzard. If I had set up SMS recovery I would be ok but I didn't do my due diligence and got burned. Hell I can't even talk to customer support without an ID since my secret question and answer works to reset my password but not for chat. Exact same answer. What the hell, blizzard?
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:23 am

Scrotos wrote:Hey, does bit locker offer some magic rescue for a container that you passworded and forgot?


Yes. Is a key code that is generated when you set it up. There's also a password recovery tool for Enterprise AD PCs.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:40 am

tanker27 wrote:
Scrotos wrote:Hey, does bit locker offer some magic rescue for a container that you passworded and forgot?


Yes. Is a key code that is generated when you set it up.

And it's really long and a pain to transcribe when some hell desk tech is reading it back to you over the phone.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:57 am

scrotos wrote:Yo dawg, that's what I said in the 3rd post.


And numerous others before me. I was just going overboard because the OP didn't seem to get it, and, even worse, seemed to think his completely misconceived objections were valid because he "understood" how encryption worked. :roll:

I wanted to completely document what you and others were claiming to fully demonstrate that he misunderstood the situation.

scrotos wrote:Hey, does bit locker offer some magic rescue for a container that you passworded and forgot? Or is that tied into windows passwords? I never used it so I don't know. True crypt has a rescue disk that you can make but it also goes out of its way to give you plausible deniability if you want, too. I just don't know of many mass market encryption schemes that are easy to recover from without doing some due diligence at the front end.


Just to make what you are saying explicitly clear for the OP:

The "magic rescue" in such cases is an automatically generated and very non-trivial password that you, the user, are expected to securely store as a rarely-accessed work-around for an emergency scenario. In all cases, unless you properly & fastidiously did your due diligence from the outset, the OEM will not be able to help you.

If they can help you, I'd like to know. Because that means that their encryption is provably insecure. Why? Because either it's 1) conceptually/implementationally flawed to the point of being utterly useless and laughably farcical or 2) there is a backdoor.

Neither case is acceptable.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:03 am

This is not a failure of technology but of marketing.
People are sold on the quality of Apple products and it's easy and somewhat common to misinterpret that as a promise of perfection.

You are right. Your expectations were betrayed.
You are wrong. Your expectations are unrealistic.

Get over it.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:24 am

windwalker wrote:People are sold on the quality of Apple products and it's easy and somewhat common to misinterpret that as a promise of perfection.


Given his criticism, in what way is the Apple product performing imperfectly? It is functioning exactly as it should, at least in regards to the impossibility of password "recovery."

On the contrary, if FireGryphon got his way and Apple provided a method that "cracked" his encryption problem, the product would clearly be functioning improperly.

He seems to be angry that Apple's support offered him a last-ditch, hail mary, hold-onto-yer-butts, cosmically-unlikely possibility to try if he's truly and utterly desperate. A method that's guaranteed to not work unless his password is trivially weak. In his mind, this blind shot into astronomically-empty darkness is somehow rock-solid and standard functionality that Apple is foolishly not providing themselves. :o That's just delusional. :roll:

Likewise, his only other criticism outside of this backup problem revolved around MICROSOFT OFFICE. :-? That's not even Apple's fault.

Even the general criticisms of the backup scheme fall-flat. Backups don't do very much good if you can easily, inadvertently and irretrievably wipe them. Apple is right to err on the extreme side of caution, and I don't see anything wrong with a technically-enforced policy that says you can't remove a backup unless you explicitly and clearly start-over.

Likewise with allowing multiple differently encrypted backups. That's just insane. If the root of the problem is that the user can't remember ONE password, allowing the user to create TWO does what, exactly? :o
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:22 am

windwalker wrote:This is not a failure of technology but of marketing.
People are sold on the quality of Apple products and it's easy and somewhat common to misinterpret that as a promise of perfection.

You are right. Your expectations were betrayed.
You are wrong. Your expectations are unrealistic.

Very well put.

I also bought an iPhone last year that I'm selling as soon as the contract is done. My honeymoon is also over, for somewhat similar reasons to FireGryphon's (none involving password recovery, though).
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:36 am

Captain Ned wrote:
tanker27 wrote:
Scrotos wrote:Hey, does bit locker offer some magic rescue for a container that you passworded and forgot?


Yes. Is a key code that is generated when you set it up.

And it's really long and a pain to transcribe when some hell desk tech is reading it back to you over the phone.


Ok, just to clarify... if I call Microsoft, they can't give me my password for my bitlockered data? Or provide a "click here to remove this password" easy thing? I would have had to either be in an AD environment with I'm assuming a company-wide cert as part of the encryption or have taken precautions originally with that key code?
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:46 am

Scrotos wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:
tanker27 wrote:Yes. Is a key code that is generated when you set it up.
And it's really long and a pain to transcribe when some hell desk tech is reading it back to you over the phone.
Ok, just to clarify... if I call Microsoft, they can't give me my password for my bitlockered data? Or provide a "click here to remove this password" easy thing? I would have had to either be in an AD environment with I'm assuming a company-wide cert as part of the encryption or have taken precautions originally with that key code?

It would be set up by you the end user or your IT department when the machine was first set up. MS can't help you on this. It's tied to the TPM on the motherboard (assuming the machine has a TPM, otherwise it can be a cert on USB or the like). Now, since the Federal Agency that gave me the Lenovo in question (with TPM and BitLocker) also uses the exact same 10-digit BitLocker password (and thus emergency rescue PW) on every single machine issued to the field, methinks the level of security provided by same is minimal.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:05 pm

Yup. All dem passwords we're expected to remember can be a bit of a steep trade off for the convenience of modern life. The other day I sat down and counted about 30 instances that I could be called upon to provide a password. And that doesn't even include casual/entertainment such as websites like Steam or TR (just stuff like work, school, banking, cell phone voice mail, home router, etc).

Might be a bit dated by now, but things are just getting worse.

I haven't bothered with something like LastPass yet, but I think it's only a matter of time as the number increases/my memory deteriorates.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:26 pm

Glorious wrote:I don't really know that much about it, but isn't that at least possibly because by doing so you'd be overwriting the previous backup?


No. This 'new' backup is on a completely new system with a new OS and a new phone. There's no old anything to overwrite.

FireGryphon wrote:1. The password is easily accessible with a third party program, so it's clearly not a tradeoff for more security

FireGryphon wrote:Actually, I've done both regular software development and encryption as a specialty, but as a consumer it's not my place to worry about either of those.


Yeah. No.

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.


If you don't believe me, go to the Apple Store and ask a rep what they recommend. They'll tell you #1. As for #2, well:


You definitely have never done anything with encryption, as the following statement of yours demonstrates:

FireGryphon wrote:I don't remember offhand, as I don't intend to use it, so didn't write it down. It will be inconvenient to manually backup things from my phone, but it makes me more comfortable than running such a program from Download.com.


Deanjo clearly wasn't asking you to remember it, obviously you can't. He was asking you about it's relative level of complexity, something you should have some inkling about. Roughly how many characters was it? Did it use numbers? Punctuation? Special Characters? We're not asking what it is, we're asking you to describe its general form.

Unless you picked something incredibly trivial and thus "insecure" as Deanjo already said, that brute-force cracker will not "easily access" your backup. It will almost certainly never access your backup.


You misread Deanjo's question. He asked me what program the Apple Store reps told me to use to break the password. He did not ask me to remember my password, as you imply here.

Irrespective of anyone's knowledge of encryption, there are utilities that allow you to break iPhone encryption, and Apple employees willingly and frequently suggest them as a resolution to password problems. Whether it takes a long or short time, or what's going on under the hood is not the question. That's an academic argument best suited for another forum.

FireGryphon wrote:2. Realistically nothing will be completely user-proof, but this seems like something simple enough that in the Apple world, it should be.


What you want Apple to do will either make their product more insecure or make it even more complex.


If banks and credit card companies can remedy a forgotten password there's no reason Apple can't do the same for an iPhone backup while still maintaining a reasonable level of security. That would make the process less complex, since the user would then deal with only Apple to fix a forgotten password instead of having to deal with multiple third parties to download programs and recover the password themselves.

And it is possible to do this. All this nonsense that you can't break an AES-256 password is great academically, but all you have to do is Google the programs yourself and see that they exist. Then go to an Apple Store and you can confirm that Apple has faith in 'em. Strong passwords won't get cracked, of course, but most passwords aren't.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:46 pm

Glorious wrote:He seems to be angry that Apple's support offered him a last-ditch, hail mary, hold-onto-yer-butts, cosmically-unlikely possibility to try if he's truly and utterly desperate. A method that's guaranteed to not work unless his password is trivially weak. In his mind, this blind shot into astronomically-empty darkness is somehow rock-solid and standard functionality that Apple is foolishly not providing themselves. :o That's just delusional. :roll:


I'm disappointed that Apple didn't tie this password to something that would make it easy to recover or reset. Moreso, I'm disappointed that I can't backup my new device on my new installation of Windows without remembering it. The hassle is not what I expect from an Apple product, and fewer hassles are precisely the reason I have an iPhone in the first place.

Likewise, his only other criticism outside of this backup problem revolved around MICROSOFT OFFICE. :-? That's not even Apple's fault.


Please re-read my first post (and follow up posts, if necessary). The MS Office bit has nothing to do with my iPhone, which is the direction this thread took. I also talked about the Music app problem. That's the most annoying of all, but in their feverish haste to discredit my knowledge of encryption, my detractors overlooked that. My annoyance at Apple has more to do with the music app than anything else.


Even the general criticisms of the backup scheme fall-flat. Backups don't do very much good if you can easily, inadvertently and irretrievably wipe them. Apple is right to err on the extreme side of caution, and I don't see anything wrong with a technically-enforced policy that says you can't remove a backup unless you explicitly and clearly start-over.


There's nothing wrong with it, except it's not working like that for me. When I start over, it still prompts me for the encryption password before I can make a new backup of my device. That indicates the encryption password is tied to my Apple ID (since no trace of anything else ties this all together -- remember, new install of Windows and new iPhone) but that makes no sense, since the encryption password shouldn't be tied to anything except the device and the backup file itself. In fact, my argument in the previous two pages was that if Apple did, for example, tie the encryption password to the iTunes account, then Apple would be in control of resetting it so I would regain access to my phone's backup function.

So, if it all worked, there'd be no problem -- but it doesn't all work, and it's another nick in Apple's armor from the perspective of my personal user experience.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:59 pm

The part that I don't get is how wiping your phone/resetting everything will get you anything different from buying a completely new phone. (disclaimer: I'm a Non Apple user). What are you actually being told to wipe?

As far as financial institutions go, as stated, they never recover your password for you. They simply verify your ID and then reset your existing password and let you make/select a new one. Not sure how Apple could really provide a similar functionality in this situation? This sounds like it is an automated authentication at the level of the software (ie, iTunes). Apple doesn't have individual control over each install of iTunes...

And are we sure that the cracking software such as that recommended by Apple geniuses actually only apply brute force methods? Perhaps they actually exploit something in the software or the encryption algorithm the software uses itself? Obviously I am quite ignorant about how this works, but I remember when getting my carrier locked phone unlocked, I paid some guy $10 or so, to generate the 8 character alphanumeric pin on a couple of occasions, and he was able to routinely provide it in a couple of hours. You'd need a pretty fast computer to completely brute force 8 characters, numbers and letters in that amount of time. Did they have access to a list of all codes for that phone issued by the carrier?
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:38 pm

Glorious wrote:Given his criticism, in what way is the Apple product performing imperfectly? It is functioning exactly as it should, at least in regards to the impossibility of password "recovery."


You are using the wrong definition of perfection because you are under the impression that humans are rational and will accept logical explanations.
Most of the arguments in this thread boil down to two simple statements: the product works as designed and the design is correct.

That doesn't matter. If it doesn't do what is expected, it's not perfect.
Nothing is ever perfect exactly because different people have different expectations.
No amount of logical arguments can convince or explain away feelings like anger, disappointment, entitlement, frustration, helplessness.
In most similar situations, the feelings get put to rest by the calm and firm guidance of a higher trained authority.
Engineers are taught to think they're smarter than everyone else so they are inclined to reject that and go whine on forums.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:41 pm

cynan wrote:You'd need a pretty fast computer to completely brute force 8 characters, numbers and letters in that amount of time.


As it turns out, a video card can do that kind of brute-force cracking very quickly, and 8 characters really isn't that long anymore, especially if the password wasn't salted and the cracker's got access to rainbow tables. If he used a video card and a cracking utility that could use same, I could easily see just a few hours (or minutes, even) being all that's necessary.

8 characters is completely insecure these days, no matter what combination of uppercase/lowercase/numbers/symbols. I wouldn't use any password that was shorter than 16 characters and fully random, and thanks to my password manager that's trivially easy, so unless a website's brain-damaged[1] all my passwords are 32 characters and fully random, which is orders of magnitude harder to brute-force.

[1] like, say, my gas company: 10 characters, no symbols.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:48 pm

FireGryphon wrote:Irrespective of anyone's knowledge of encryption, there are utilities that allow you to break iPhone encryption, and Apple employees willingly and frequently suggest them as a resolution to password problems. Whether it takes a long or short time, or what's going on under the hood is not the question. That's an academic argument best suited for another forum.


The rep threw a hail mary pass. None of the so called encryption programs that offer a guarantee that it can recover the password. In fact most of them even say that they try dictionary attacks first. If it fails to find a matching password in it's list then all bets are off as it now has to try to brute the key and good luck with that. As the scenario goes for AES-128 encryption goes:

If you assume:

Every person on the planet owns 10 computers.
There are 7 billion people on the planet.
Each of these computers can test 1 billion key combinations per second.
On average, you can crack the key after testing 50% of the possibilities.

Then the earth's population can crack one encryption key in 77,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years!


I can sell you a program on the mac that does the same thing, goes through a word list hoping you used an insecure password and try to match it, if not then try bruting the key. Given enough time it will eventually find the right key if allowed to run long enough. I just won't guarantee you that it will be found within yours or your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchilds lifetime.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:15 pm

FireGryphon wrote:My annoyance at Apple has more to do with the music app than anything else.

Make sure you have Apples iCloud service turned off / disabled for music. There is a chance that your phone it trying to upload your music to iCloud and register your ownership of the songs.

Re Encrypted Backup
Apple is doing the right thing, it is meant to keep out users that don't know the password (including you). Encrypted backup is not the default, normal users don't encrypt the backup and will never run into this problem i.e. it just works. You choose to be an advanced user and encrypt and then ran into advanced user problems.

As for the new phone / new PC still asking for the password.
1) Did you restore your old phone onto your new phone?
2) Was your old phone backed up with iCloud?

There is a good chance that both of your problems are iCloud.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:25 am

FireGryphon wrote:No. This 'new' backup is on a completely new system with a new OS and a new phone. There's no old anything to overwrite.


Ok, I must be lost. If it is new, what's the problem with wiping it? I'm clearly missing something...?

FireGryphon wrote:If you don't believe me, go to the Apple Store and ask a rep what they recommend. They'll tell you #1. As for #2, well:


?

Why would I expect a retail employee to properly understand encryption when you, a supposed programmer, clearly do not?

Is it really a hard concept that retail employees or front-line support staff don't necessarily understand what they are telling you, and that they are usually not any sort of expert? Seriously?

FireGryphon wrote:Irrespective of anyone's knowledge of encryption, there are utilities that allow you to break iPhone encryption, and Apple employees willingly and frequently suggest them as a resolution to password problems. Whether it takes a long or short time, or what's going on under the hood is not the question. That's an academic argument best suited for another forum.


Yes, but depending on the complexity of your password it could take anywhere between seconds or until the heat death of the universe.

They were suggesting it to you, as I said, only as last-ditch effort because there are no other options available to you. Which is as it should be.

You are clearly not thinking this through. If Apple offered an Apple-branded "password cracker" they'd get even more useless technical support situations, such as:

"I've run it for over a minute now, and it STILL didn't recover my password. What the heck Apple! WHY DOESN'T YOUR SOFTWARE WORK?!?"

"I overclocked my computer so it would run faster, but your software falsely reported it found the password and now my computer is on fire! WTH APPLE??!?"

"My grandfather has been running this program for as long as anyone in the family can remember, but he just died and now no one in the family knows what it is or what it is doing. In his will he says it is very important we allow it to finish. What do we do if and when that happens?"

:wink:

What is apple supposed to say? "Run-times of a few minutes or the REST OF YOUR NATURAL LIVES+FOREVER are completely normal and the software is working correctly. Please do not be alarmed if it NEVER returns a result, rest assured that it is chugging away like the little engine that could against a track grade that's somewhere between NP and NP-hard."

FireGryphon wrote:If banks and credit card companies can remedy a forgotten password there's no reason Apple can't do the same for an iPhone backup while still maintaining a reasonable level of security. That would make the process less complex, since the user would then deal with only Apple to fix a forgotten password instead of having to deal with multiple third parties to download programs and recover the password themselves.


As you have been told, Banks don't "recover" passwords. If your bank, or ANY bank, tells you what your password is or was, PLEASE, FOR THE FSM'S SAKE, LET ME AND EVERYONE ELSE KNOW. Because that's a MASSIVE and DANGEROUS security flaw. I don't want to bank there or let anyone I know bank there! I want to send in Captain Ned and Co. to slap them silly and set them straight!

The "remedy" is that they give you a new password, which works fine because your password was never used to encrypt anything. It's just an input into a key derivation function whose output has the sole purpose of authentication.

Apple can't do the same, because the new password won't decrypt your old backup, and if they allow multiple backups and multiple passwords the kind of problem you are experiencing only becomes worse and introduces new problems.

FireGryphon wrote:And it is possible to do this. All this nonsense that you can't break an AES-256 password is great academically, but all you have to do is Google the programs yourself and see that they exist. Then go to an Apple Store and you can confirm that Apple has faith in 'em. Strong passwords won't get cracked, of course, but most passwords aren't.


Then, LIKE DEANJO SAID, the question is how complex was your password. Unless you completely blacked out, you must have some idea how difficult you made the password, heck, you even implicitly said that you tried multiple possible combinations but couldn't get it right. That means you must have some idea about the form of the password and thus its complexity.

If you know it's a weak password, then try the programs. If you want to wring your hands about how Apple doesn't distributed branded software designed to inefficiently crack its own properly implemented security, fine, but don't expect anyone to understand. I certainly don't and think that expectation is asinine.

The Apple Store has faith in them because most passwords suck. The only relevant corollary to that assertion is this: Does yours?

FireGryphon wrote:I'm disappointed that Apple didn't tie this password to something that would make it easy to recover or reset. Moreso, I'm disappointed that I can't backup my new device on my new installation of Windows without remembering it. The hassle is not what I expect from an Apple product, and fewer hassles are precisely the reason I have an iPhone in the first place.


Again, if it is new, what's wrong with wiping it? Do you mean you have to wipe the old one?

Is your current situation:

OLD: {Current installation(which you don't want to lose?)} {Encrypted Backup(that you can't get rid of?)}
NEW: {current installation(that you don't care about?)}

Is the problem that you can't transfer the current installation from the OLD to the NEW while the encrypted backup exists, and you can't get rid of the encrypted backup of the OLD phone unless you wipe the current installation from the OLD phone?

If that's an accurate rendition of your predicament, then I understand your frustration a little better!

At any rate, when did you get the NEW phone?

FireGryphon wrote:Please re-read my first post (and follow up posts, if necessary). The MS Office bit has nothing to do with my iPhone, which is the direction this thread took. I also talked about the Music app problem. That's the most annoying of all, but in their feverish haste to discredit my knowledge of encryption, my detractors overlooked that. My annoyance at Apple has more to do with the music app than anything else.


When you repeatedly claim that you understand encryption but then repeatedly demonstrate that you absolutely do not, yeah, that'll happen.

Focus on your real complaint instead of senselessly and futilely arguing an incorrect one.

FireGryphon wrote:There's nothing wrong with it, except it's not working like that for me. When I start over, it still prompts me for the encryption password before I can make a new backup of my device. That indicates the encryption password is tied to my Apple ID (since no trace of anything else ties this all together -- remember, new install of Windows and new iPhone) but that makes no sense, since the encryption password shouldn't be tied to anything except the device and the backup file itself. In fact, my argument in the previous two pages was that if Apple did, for example, tie the encryption password to the iTunes account, then Apple would be in control of resetting it so I would regain access to my phone's backup function.


It just seems like we're missing some sort of detail here... I'm not sure we properly understand your problem.

First off, you need to clearly demarcate which phone you are referring to when you say things like the above. Is it the NEW or OLD phone, and when did you get the two phones, which phone has what on it, which are you using right now, do you still have the OLD phone in a drawer, etc...?
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:48 am

Synchromesh wrote:
Welch wrote:Take Volvo for instance.... they make X number of cars for each continent or country each year and that's it, and charge more for those vehicles. But with that you get quality and personal service unlike any other because they aren't over burdened trying to keep millions of consumers happy at the same time. They can focus on just making the best damn car within a certain price range and meeting that niche. Apple use to have a similar philosophy but not anymore.

Mo' customers mo' problems.

Actually, that's a pretty bad analogy. Today's Volvos are not nearly as good and tanklike as the 240s and 740s of yore. We can thank Ford for that. New cars are filled with gizmos and aren't very reliable much like their German counterparts. I recall a few years back asking my mechanic's advice on purchasing a used S40 T5. His answer was a prompt "stay away, far far away". So I'd say they're far from making the "best damn car within certain price range" at this point.


Little late for this response on my part to a sort of off topic comment :P but ehh. Volvo isn't a German car originally anyhow btw its Swedish (now owned by the Chinese), which as someone else pointed out wasn't really Ford's problem. Ford borrowed from the Volvo company, mostly in their AWD systems as they were some of the most advanced of their kind. This AWD engineering was found in the Ford Taurus (like my wife's 2009 Taurus). Your mechanic saying "stay away" could be for multiple reasons... Parts availability, difficulty of repairs, its not really conclusive. Point being in my analogy (terrible or not) was that their original business model regardless of what it is today was to fill a specific niche and do it as best as possible. I feel that Apple used to do this with there phones back in the day when they were 300-400+ phones ON CONTRACT and only through AT&T for many years to give it that exclusivity and make it truly a luxury item. They no longer do that and offer the phone up for 99-199 on contract and sometimes cheaper with specials. Long of the short is, you can't keep offering a near flawless unit when you've more than cut the cost in 1/2. Not easily anyhow, hence the quality and features have suffered according to the OP's opinion and experience.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:59 am

dragmor wrote:Make sure you have Apples iCloud service turned off / disabled for music. There is a chance that your phone it trying to upload your music to iCloud and register your ownership of the songs.


First of all, thanks for being helpful and not resorting to ad hominem attacks like most others here.

iCloud comes into play because the phone will ask me for my iCloud password once in a while, but the confusing part is that I never used iCloud before. I do not have an iCloud account. The only iCloud feature I have enabled is the Find My iPhone feature, but afaik, that does not require logging into anything -- at least, it didn't on my iPhone 4.


Re Encrypted Backup
Apple is doing the right thing, it is meant to keep out users that don't know the password (including you). Encrypted backup is not the default, normal users don't encrypt the backup and will never run into this problem i.e. it just works. You choose to be an advanced user and encrypt and then ran into advanced user problems.


The encryption part is working properly (except that it can be hacked with a legal, widely-available program, despite the academic ranting going on in this thread). What's not working properly is the user experience that lets a hapless user paint himself into a corner. Not something I thought would ever happen to me with a user-friendly Apple product, and it caught me off guard.

As for the new phone / new PC still asking for the password.
1) Did you restore your old phone onto your new phone?
2) Was your old phone backed up with iCloud?

There is a good chance that both of your problems are iCloud.


I'll look into the iCloud bit more thoroughly. I hadn't suspected it before now, but it's worth a shot. Thanks!



Glorious wrote:Ok, I must be lost. If it is new, what's the problem with wiping it? I'm clearly missing something...?


Wiped it twice already when I first got it. Not eager to do it again.

FireGryphon wrote:Why would I expect a retail employee to properly understand encryption when you, a supposed programmer, clearly do not? Is it really a hard concept that retail employees or front-line support staff don't necessarily understand what they are telling you, and that they are usually not any sort of expert? Seriously?


I heard this from three Apple Store reps on separate occasions, which leads me to believe its more of a company policy than a single, rogue rep giving grey-market advice.


Yes, but depending on the complexity of your password it could take anywhere between seconds or until the heat death of the universe..


You're correct in an ivory tower, but realistically, most passwords are very simple and easily crackable, which is why I suspect Apple suggests it in the first place.

Focus on your real complaint instead of senselessly and futilely arguing an incorrect one.


I just did, but in true troll fashion, your entire post is about something else. That's beyond my control.

It just seems like we're missing some sort of detail here... I'm not sure we properly understand your problem. First off, you need to clearly demarcate which phone you are referring to when you say things like the above. Is it the NEW or OLD phone, and when did you get the two phones, which phone has what on it, which are you using right now, do you still have the OLD phone in a drawer, etc...?


1. My new iPhone constantly asks me to sign into my iTunes account when I use the music app. It's annoying and gets in my way, especially when nothing in my music library has anything to do with iTunes. I even tried entering the password a few times and it still prompts me the next time. Three Apple Store reps looked at it, none could solve it, and all suggested I should just wipe my phone and start over. Whether or not that solution works, it's still not an elegant solution from a company that's products 'should just work', like Apple.

2. Backup problem -- even on my new iPhone, from October 2013, I cannot back up to iTunes unless I enter the password that I set for my older iPhone. I'm wiling to accept I'm doing something wrong, but in three trips to the Apple Store the only advice given to me that I haven't tried yet is cracking the password. Resetting the phone has not worked.



Deanjo wrote:[academic argument about AES-256 encryption]


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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:10 am

cynan wrote:And are we sure that the cracking software such as that recommended by Apple geniuses actually only apply brute force methods? Perhaps they actually exploit something in the software or the encryption algorithm the software uses itself? Obviously I am quite ignorant about how this works, but I remember when getting my carrier locked phone unlocked, I paid some guy $10 or so, to generate the 8 character alphanumeric pin on a couple of occasions, and he was able to routinely provide it in a couple of hours. You'd need a pretty fast computer to completely brute force 8 characters, numbers and letters in that amount of time. Did they have access to a list of all codes for that phone issued by the carrier?


True, but as bthylafh says, 8 characters just isn't rocket science anymore. And, in your case, that sounds like an ESN. Which, in an 8 character form is actually hex, and thus really just 4 characters (i.e. bytes), many of which are excluded because certain amount of bits corresponds to manufacturer. More importantly, though, that guy wasn't cracking anything. He was just generating/validating/registering a different ESN which wasn't locked or flagged.

But, what I just said illustrates things that REAL crackers CAN rely on to lower the difficulty of what they are doing. Not all characters are actually used, some characters are much more likely to be one area than another (like numbers at the end of a password instead of the beginning) It's still brute force, but it's like, intelligently applied brute force. :wink: Instead of bashing the door down by randomly kicking different portions of its surface, you pick certain areas of the door which you know from experience are much less likely to be reinforced.

This isn't theoretical. Real world crackers have access to previously pilfered databases of passwords, and from that they generate statistical probabilities about what a typical password will look like. This practice can dramatically decrease the time involved.

Anyway, as I documented, the Iphone is FIPS certified, which means that you definitely aren't going to find any cracker.exe on download.com that incorporates a known flaw either in the implementation or the algorithm.

bthylafh wrote:As it turns out, a video card can do that kind of brute-force cracking very quickly, and 8 characters really isn't that long anymore, especially if the password wasn't salted and the cracker's got access to rainbow tables. If he used a video card and a cracking utility that could use same, I could easily see just a few hours (or minutes, even) being all that's necessary.


Eh, I don't know what scheme they have for padding/salting (the documentation I found via quick googling doesn't go into that level of detail). But here are some numbers provided by one of the third-party software makers:

Elcomsoft wrote:The speed of backup password recovery reaches the speed of about 50,000 passwords per second on AMD Radeon HD 7970


Uh-oh.

If we allow only characters(mixed-case) and numbers, but no punctuation or anything else, in an 8 character password, that's 62^8, which is 218 trillion. Dividing that by 50,000 gets us in the range of 4 billion seconds. Which, as we know from the Year 2038 problem (time_t is signed and the epoch started in 1970), means ~130 years. :wink:

bthylafh wrote:8 characters is completely insecure these days, no matter what combination of uppercase/lowercase/numbers/symbols. I wouldn't use any password that was shorter than 16 characters and fully random, and thanks to my password manager that's trivially easy, so unless a website's brain-damaged[1] all my passwords are 32 characters and fully random, which is orders of magnitude harder to brute-force.


Definitely a good practice, but if you use passwords that break common patterns, use punctuation and are just 12 characters in length, you're probably fine. As long as you remember them ;)

Also Randall Monroe's point is well-received: http://xkcd.com/936/

deanjo wrote:I can sell you a program on the mac that does the same thing, goes through a word list hoping you used an insecure password and try to match it, if not then try bruting the key.


I'm absolutely sure they stick to bruting the password, because no matter how slow the processing/padding/salting/etc..., it is many, many, orders of magnitude faster than going after the actual keyspace.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:32 am

FireGryphon wrote:The encryption part is working properly (except that it can be hacked with a legal, widely-available program, despite the academic ranting going on in this thread). What's not working properly is the user experience that lets a hapless user paint himself into a corner. Not something I thought would ever happen to me with a user-friendly Apple product, and it caught me off guard.


If, and only if, the user used a trival password.

Hey, we know that user! He's you!

DID YOU?

You whine bitterly about how we are talking about hypothetical and academic questions, but yet you bitterly resist answering the very practical question about what you do remember about your password.

You complained, repeatedly, about how Apple refused to offer you an Apple-branded password cracker:

FireGryphon, 1st post wrote:the kicker is the support that Apple gives. To my encrypted backup problem, the Apple store reps all tell me to download a third party program to crack the password. This is bad advice for two reasons: firstly, I don't feel comfortable using a crack program developed by a third party on my phone that holds personal info, and secondly, it'd be impossible for a non-techie person to do this without lots of help


FireGryphon, 2nd post wrote:Nope. Apple should have some kind of password recovery, like every other consumer product that requires a password. As it stands, Apple's product allows the user to inadvertently break functionality without providing a way to fix it. A third party hack is not an Apple fix, it's a hack.


FireGryphon, 3rd post wrote:Maybe I'm missing something, but every other service I have offers password recovery. Is it that far off to be puzzled when this service doesn't?


FireGryphon, 4th post wrote:Yes, and since everyone makes mistakes -- especially Joe Consumer -- it's a shocking that Apple wouldn't build in some sort of password recovery.


Hence our ranting. You don't seem to understand what you are saying, and you seem to be unwilling to let it go.

FireGryphon wrote:I heard this from three Apple Store reps on separate occasions, which leads me to believe its more of a company policy than a single, rogue rep giving grey-market advice.


I never said it was and I have no idea why you'd even think that. I was objecting to the notion that it was guaranteed to be easy, because it isn't. I already posted a link to one of the third-party crackers you were referred to by Apple staff. They explicitly say it isn't guaranteed, and it isn't easy unless YOUR password was weak (not some academic sampling of OTHER passwords).

FireGryphon wrote:You're correct in an ivory tower, but realistically, most passwords are very simple and easily crackable, which is why I suspect Apple suggests it in the first place.


Was yours?

You say we want to talk about "academic" questions, but yet you just said "most passwords."

So, are you trying to crack a hypothetical password, the typical form of which is an academic question, or you are trying to crack *YOUR* password?

FireGryphon wrote:I just did, but in true troll fashion, your entire post is about something else. That's beyond my control.


Because your complaint is that Apple isn't doing something that's both pointless and stupid.

FireGryphon wrote:1. My new iPhone constantly asks me to sign into my iTunes account when I use the music app. It's annoying and gets in my way, especially when nothing in my music library has anything to do with iTunes. I even tried entering the password a few times and it still prompts me the next time. Three Apple Store reps looked at it, none could solve it, and all suggested I should just wipe my phone and start over. Whether or not that solution works, it's still not an elegant solution from a company that's products 'should just work', like Apple.


But I'm confused. You say in #2 that you've already reset the phone. So, no, it appears that such a solution doesn't work.

Thus this doesn't appear to have anything to do with your backup troubles, and there are a bunch of google results for the exact problem you describe. Have you tried them and failed? Are you positive nothing in your music library has anything to do with iTunes?

FireGryphon wrote:2. Backup problem -- even on my new iPhone, from October 2013, I cannot back up to iTunes unless I enter the password that I set for my older iPhone. I'm wiling to accept I'm doing something wrong, but in three trips to the Apple Store the only advice given to me that I haven't tried yet is cracking the password. Resetting the phone has not worked.


Again, this probably functions as intended, because of the issue of multiple backups/multiple passwords.

Is resetting the same as wiping? Again, I'm confused.

FireGryphon wrote:Will it really take the life of the universe to figure out these?


Is your password in that list?
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:04 am

This is more what I was referring to with fast GPU-based password cracking:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/12 ... n-6-hours/

350 billion password guesses per second on the old NTLM hashing algorithm. 25 GPUs isn't that much of a cash outlay compared to the potential rewards of identity theft. Mind that this story was from December 2012, so they've only gotten faster since then.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:42 am

bthylafh wrote:This is more what I was referring to with fast GPU-based password cracking:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/12 ... n-6-hours/

350 billion password guesses per second. 25 GPUs isn't that much of a cash outlay compared to the potential rewards of identity theft. Mind that this story was from December 2012, so they've only gotten faster since then.


Those speeds are dependent on how the passwords are processed into the actual keys, in that quoted figure of 350 billion passwords per second they are specifically referring to NT hashes, which is basically just straight MD4. That's a very old and deprecated algorithm that was noteworthy for its speed when it was created in the 1980s. Other algorithms will be significantly slower, and even NTLMv2 is deprecated (and it only existed because it was better NTLMv1 that allowed the joke that was the LM hash).

If you are doing right, the process of converting the password into the actual cryptographic key is very slow, and it's enhanced by a liberal amount of salting to make the formation of rainbow tables infeasible.

I don't know the details of Apple's implementation, but the published guess rate is highly suggestive of a properly applied key derivation function. Multiplying it by 25 is still like 5 years, worst case (for our scenario of 62^8 possibilities).

Yes, as you mentioned, that's not spectacular, and that's why you suggested stronger passwords.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:18 pm

Some updated info:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05 ... passwords/
"The list contained 16,449 passwords converted into hashes using the MD5 cryptographic hash function."

Some links to there on other articles on how to use some of the tools, etc.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:58 pm

Ok. So here's the biggest issue with the idea that "Apple should take every possible responsibility for any number of my actions."

It's highly irresponsible for them as a company to do that.

To be clear, I understand that **** happens. But to suggest that Apple should've built a back door for people who forget their iTunes backup passwords is asking Apple to compromise the security of everyone's iTunes backups for the sake of the few who don't take the necessary precautions and remember their own passwords.

Because, this is what happens:

- Apple builds a backdoor.
- As Apple's security experts are supposedly human, said backdoor is a backdoor for essentially everyone with sufficient expertise.
- Third party hacker/thief steals/writes software exploiting this backdoor.
- Entire encryption functionality is compromised for the millions of users who depend on it's security.
- Apple gets blamed, called incompetent, and criticized for tarnishing Saint Jobs' legacy.

To expect that Apple potentially sacrifice the security of millions of their own users in order to mitigate the responsibilities of a few forgetful souls (and to be shocked that they don't) is certainly a shade of entitled, but mostly just selfish.

Sorry about your backup, though. But you gotta do what you gotta do, man.
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Re: That honeymoon didn't last long

Postposted on Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:58 pm

Da_Boss wrote:Ok. So here's the biggest issue with the idea that "Apple should take every possible responsibility for any number of my actions."

It's highly irresponsible for them as a company to do that.

To be clear, I understand that **** happens. But to suggest that Apple should've built a back door for people who forget their iTunes backup passwords is asking Apple to compromise the security of everyone's iTunes backups for the sake of the few who don't take the necessary precautions and remember their own passwords.

Because, this is what happens:

- Apple builds a backdoor.
- As Apple's security experts are supposedly human, said backdoor is a backdoor for essentially everyone with sufficient expertise.
- Third party hacker/thief steals/writes software exploiting this backdoor.
- Entire encryption functionality is compromised for the millions of users who depend on it's security.
- Apple gets blamed, called incompetent, and criticized for tarnishing Saint Jobs' legacy.

To expect that Apple potentially sacrifice the security of millions of their own users in order to mitigate the responsibilities of a few forgetful souls (and to be shocked that they don't) is certainly a shade of entitled, but mostly just selfish.

Sorry about your backup, though. But you gotta do what you gotta do, man.


I wouldn't suggest that they create a "backdoor" per se. But to say that they shouldn't have a password recovery option regardless of how much of a pain it might be to verify yourself is ****. Password recovery options have been a standard for pretty much any online service for how long now? Just as Apple's security experts are "Human" so are we the end users. As such we are likely to forget things and having a backup plan is nice. I don't care if the users have to call in to Apple and give them a long list of verifiable information, at least it would be an option.
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