AirDrop Analysis of the UDP (Unsolicited Dick Pic)

I saw this article “NYC plans to make AirDropping dick pics a crime” on Friday and it got me thinking. What exactly are the cops going to find if they do an analysis of a device, either the sender or the receiver? 

I’ve already done my fair share of analysis when it comes to the Continuity technology with Apple devices with Heather Mahalik at the SANS DFIR Summit in 2017. This article gave me a good reason to do a revisit on how AirDrop artifacts between mobile devices.

Testing Scenario

I’m using the scenario of sending of dick pics in the middle of Times Square as an example. I have two test phones, an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 6. The iPhone 7 belongs to “David Lightman” and the iPhone 6 belongs to “Jen Mack”.  Each device is on iOS 11 for this test. Instead of UDPs, Jen is going to be sending David USP’s instead, or Unsolicited Squirrel Pics – I suppose I need to keep this family friendly right?

AirDrop works over ad-hoc Peer-to-Peer networking over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When a user attempts to AirDrop someone a file it will determine who is within range and who is currently receiving AirDrop connections. This may be set to Contacts Only or Everyone (or Receiving Off for those who don’t want UDP’s, smart choice). Poor David has the setting to Everyone, he’ll get some surprises!

To send the squirrel photo to David, Jen used the native Photos application’s sharing feature to select a device to AirDrop the USP to. The only device within range that has AirDrop turned on and in a receiving mode is David Lightman’s iPhone.

Jen selects his phone and sends the picture. On David’s device he receives a pop-up, he can choose to Decline or Accept. 

AirDrop ID

Important to this analysis is an AirDrop ID. On devices this can be found in /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sharingd.plist. The keyword ‘sharingd’ is very important in this scenario as much of the Continuity artifacts can be found by searching for that process name. This plist file should be available in an iTunes backup and from any commercial forensic utility. 

Jen’s AirDrop ID is 3DAA769F9F23.

David’s AirDrop ID is E7D713098E3B, also take note of that the DiscoverableMode is set to Everyone. (Jen does not have this key, hers was set Contacts only.)

Artifacts from the Receiver’s (David Lightman) Device

Assuming that the receiver is the individual who would likely make the complaint to the cops, we will look at this iPhone first to determine what artifacts will persist and if they are show attribution to a certain device and/or owner.

Very few artifacts on the devices will actually show this connection happening. Let’s take a look at some of the main artifacts that I would explore if I had the case.

Unified Logs  

Logs can show lots of data and in great verbose detail. Unfortunately, these Unified Logs do not get backed up on iOS devices. The only way to extract them from the device is to get a physical file dump of the device (Jailbreak/Cellebrite CAS/GrayKey). (UPDATE: 12/04/18 - It has come to my attention from a commentor that these unified log files can be collected using the sysdiagnose process on iOS devices. I’ve tested this and they are in fact there. Funny enough, per Apple Documentation, it wants you to copy this archive off the device using AirDrop. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Not entirely the most forensically sound method but hey, data is data - get it with whatever means your legal team will allow. Thanks ‘G’!)

In this example on David’s iPhone, you can see the sharingd process start to scan, attempting to find peers (Continuity connections). During this process you will also see lots of wirelessproxd and bluetoothd activity as well since AirDrop uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi services. You will also see references to AWDL or Apple Wireless Direct Link.

Follow the logs down a bit and you’ll start to run into some potentially identifying information. We are now starting to see records containing Jen’s device name “Jen Mack’s iPhone”. Pay close attention to the first record highlighted and you’ll see what looks like a MAC address, however it is neither the Bluetooth nor the Wi-Fi addresses. This address is generated different every time a connection is made, therefore not an ideal data point for attribution. 

Going back to the device’s name. This may lead you in the right direction, however anyone can name their device anything they want. I can call my iPhone X “Samsung S9” for instance, no identifying information and frankly a device that doesn’t even do AirDrop.

The next couple of highlighted sections (in red), show the start of the AirDrop connection. We can see an incoming request and start seeing records that include the AirDrop ID of Jen’s iPhone, 3DAA769F9F23. This is where I think attribution may be possible. This ID seems consistent across connections and different devices in my experience. It may be possible to tie this to an Apple ID or specific device. I have yet to find this connection however – it’s not part of the Serial, UDID, or various MAC addresses that I can tell. More research is needed here.

Next, in purple, is more metadata about the file transfer to include transfer status, media type, originating device name, source application, and associated transfer GUID.

In between these metadata records, it shows that it is transferring a file to /var/mobile/Downloads/com.apple.AirDrop/BA40D8CF-54E6-4B09-8F2F-717FB638174E/Files. Whether the user chooses Accept or Decline, the photo still gets transferred to the device.

Finally, the user receives an alert about the AirDrop’ed photo. Following this record is more details on how the user is alerted to the connection audibly and physically with alert tones and vibrations.

This particular AirDrop connect was “Declined” by David. This can be seen in the records below where the ‘selectedAction’ now shows Decline and a clean-up process has started. Highlighted in teal is the AirDrop connection closing.

If the user Accepted the AirDrop’ed photo, the logs would look like the following. The file would have been ‘accepted’ in the metadata records. Finally, since it is a photo – the default application Photos wants to import it into its files and databases. The AirDrop connection is also closed at this time.

Photos Database

Since the photo gets transferred into the user’s Photos database we can look there for hints. This is one file that does get backed up by iTunes and commercial forensic utilities. The Photos database is located /private/var/mobile/Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite on the physical device. 

The filename on Jen’s device was IMG_0007.JPG before it got renamed to IMG_0110.JPG on David’s phone. The original filename can be found in the ZADDITIONALASSETATTRIBUTES table in the ZORIGINALFILENAME column.

It is worth noting that the imported photo will carry the same EXIF data as the original on Jen’s device, in fact it is exactly the same photo (hashes should match). The file size and some timestamps get carried over into the Photos database. Other metadata items can be used to determine a photo from another device are the Height/Width, assuming it is from a different family of devices the pixels may be different.

In the ZGENERICASSET table, we have the same Height/Width, however some timestamps are updated to match the time of import via AirDrop. The ZDATECREATED timestamp matches the original creation of the photo. The ZCLOUDASSETGUID matches the GUID seen in the last few entries in the logs above. There does not appear to be any attribution data in this database.

Artifacts from the Sender’s (Jen Mack) Device

In the rare event that the Sender’s device was acquired, the related artifacts are below.

Unified Logs

Much of the logs look similar to the receiver. The sample below shows the sharingd process connecting to David’s AirDrop ID, E7D713098E3B and shows his iPhone device name. Again, the MAC address does not appear to be consistent and will change on every connection.

A few more lines down we can see some file conversion for the photo, IMG_0007.JPG (which apparently wasn’t needed). This is followed by an AirDrop transaction with the AirDrop ID of David’s iPhone.

Conclusion

The lack of attribution artifacts at this time (additional research pending) is going to make it very difficult to attribute AirDrop misuse. At best, if the cops are provided each device, they can pair the connections up – however this will require access to file system dumping services like Cellebrite CAS, GrayKey from GrayShift or performing a jailbreak to get the most accurate analysis. If the devices are named appropriately (ie: If Jen Mack’s iPhone was actually named ‘Jen Mack’s iPhone’) this may make an analysis easy, however I can see an instance where this can be abused to imitate someone else.

Curious about the USP, here you go. This was an advertisement in the DC Metro system, that for some reason whenever I saw it I giggled. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Do it Live! Dynamic iOS Forensic Testing

fuck-it-bill-fubar-well-do-it-live.jpg

Testing and forensics go hand in hand. You cannot be sure about a certain artifact on what it contains or what certain pieces mean without testing (and not just once, but over and over and on multiple devices and operating systems!) I probably do this more than most forensic investigators but it is something I obsess about. If I’m not absolutely sure, I test – always. Even then I will caveat it to very specific instances of my testing platform. I hope this article will help most investigators and researches up and running with dynamic iOS testing.

Requirements & Prerequisites:

  • Jailbroken iOS Test Device (the newer iOS the better, generally!)

    • iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch – doesn’t matter.

  • Familiarity with your jailbreak, every jailbreak is different and may provide different sets of utilities.

  • Patience – Testing is neither quick nor easy and can be downright infuriating sometimes.

Connecting to Your iOS Device

Most newer jailbreaks will come with some sort of SSH server on them, determine how to connect to it via SSH. All examples in this article will be performed on MacOS (big surprise) however it shouldn’t be impossible to do this on other platforms. I’ve written a couple of articles on accessing jailbroken devices:

To connect to your iOS device, you can use normal access via Wi-Fi, but this may lead to stability issues when copying off large amounts of data or general connection issues. You may want to access the device off the network instead. I like to use a utility from the libimobiledevice suite of tools called iproxy. This allows me to access it via a USB lightning cable and no network. This uses usbmuxd to create a TCP tunnel over USB. More info/similar tools here if you need it.

Run iproxy in a separate terminal window or set it up as a Launch Agent.

Usage: iproxy 4242 22 [UDID]

  • Local Port 4242 – You can use whatever port you like, I like 4242 (It’s the answer to everything.)

  • Device Port 22 – Default SSH port for most jailbreaks, except for Meridian that likes to be fancy and run on 2222 (customize as required).

  • Device ID (UDID) is optional but useful if you are connected to multiple devices at a time.

Nothing will be displayed apart from “waiting for connection” until you connect a device. Once you do, you’ll see the devices UDID and port number in the iproxy output.

In another terminal window, SSH into it using the local port you setup with iproxy. You can use localhost or 127.0.0.1, whatever your personal preference is. As for the username you have two choices – root or mobile, root is obviously root and mobile is a limited user account. I always choose root but worth knowing about both. Also FWIW, make sure you change the default iOS password of these accounts from ‘alpine’ with passwd if it’s connecting to any network at all.

Executing Non-Native Binaries

Depending on which jailbreak you are using, certain utilities may not be made available to you. With any luck the basics will be provided by the jailbreak using Jonathan Levin’s binpack. If you want to upload your own, you’ll have to sign them and provide entitlements to run them on the device.

One tool that I really like for file monitoring (discussed later) is fsmon by NowSecure. I’ve attempted to build this from source for iOS but once uploaded I get an error that I don’t know how to fix (granted I didn’t research it much). Instead I pulled the binary from the DEB package provided here https://github.com/nowsecure/fsmon/releases.

I can unarchive the DEB archive using The Unarchiver (My favorite unarchive on macOS!). I then unarchive the data.tar.gz using The Unarchiver or native utilities to get the ‘/usr/bin/fsmon’ binary.

The fsmon binary is Fat or Universal binary meaning it can have multiple architectures stuffed into a single file. This particular binary has arm_v7 (32-bit) and arm64 (64-bit) Mach-O binaries.

We will need to thin this binary to a single architecture to get to run on our device. I chose arm64 for this since I have a 64-bit device (iPhone 7). You can thin/sign/entitle on the Mac too using jtool but just in the event you are not working from one (and why not!? I’m sitting here judging you right now.) I’ll upload the binary to the device and run the same commands.

Using scp I can upload this binary. For my particular jailbreak I needed to create a symlink (ln -s) to the scp binary provided by Jonathan’s binpack before I could use it.

Using scp with the CAPITAL P argument (why the port flags are not consistent between SCP and SSH is beyond me) and our iproxy port of 4242 to copy fsmon to root’s home directory, /var/root.

Now if we try to run it from root’s home directory, it will fail (“Operation no permitted”) since binaries on newer iOS’s can only run from certain directories. That’s not the only problem, it also needs to be signed and entitled.

First let’s deal with only one binary, in order to sign and entitle we need to extract the 64-bit binary from Fat binary. We can do with a couple tools. If you are on macOS and have lipo (get it? fat binary…lipo…thin…sorry, this makes me giggle every time.) I will output to a file named fsmon64 so I know it is the 64-bit binary and upload it to the device.

lipo fsmon -thin arm64 -output fsmon64

Since I’ve uploaded mine to the device already, I don’t have lipo on the device I will use Jonathan’s jtool instead.

jtool -arch arm64 -e arch fsmon

This will extract the 64-bit binary to a file named fsmon.arch_arm64 into the current directory. You will have to change the permissions to execute it (chmod 700), but we still need to deal with signature and entitlements. As shown below it has an adhoc signature and no entitlements.

To get the signature and entitlements from any binary you can run the following jtool command, example below is from the dd binary. Notice it has a Platform Binary signature and the “platform-applications” entitlement.

jtool --sig --ent <binary>

If I tried to execute the fsmon binary in /var/root, I’ll still get the “Operation not permitted” error. If I move it to a directory, I should be able to execute from I’ll get a different error, “Killed: 9”, next step is fixing the signature and entitlements.

Extract the entitlements from another (working) binary on the device using jtool and save this to a file named ent.xml for use later.

jtool --ent > ~/ent.xml

Using jtool again, lets sign fsmon.arch_arm64 as a platform application and provide the binary the entitlements we just extracted. Verify it worked with (--sig/--ent) and execute it. Yay, working binary! (Feel free to rename as necessary, again I use fsmon64 or just fsmon.)

jtool --sign platform --inplace --ent ~/ent.xml /jb/bin/fsmon.arch_arm64

Reviewing Directories and Files

Quick iOS partition review - take a look at the /etc/fstab file. There are two primary partitions (and a baseband one if you’re into that kinda thing.) The first mounted on / is the system partition where the operating system files are contained. It is theoretically read only as noted by the ‘ro’, however recall that we just put the fsmon binary in /jb/bin. When it comes to jailbreaks that ‘ro’ is more of a reminder of what it is on stock devices. The data partition mounted on /private/var is where all the user data is, this is the primary partition that you’ll be using for your forensic analysis. All native and 3rd party application plists, databases, and other files are located there.

In order to find data associated with a particular application I can use the find command and the bundle ID associated with an app.

find /private/var -ipath *net.whatsapp.Whatsapp*

In the example below, I started looking for WhatsApp data. This is a good initial triage of the applications data, this doesn’t get me all the files but it helps direct me to the related directories. You’ll notice that GUID in the file path, this will be different for all applications across all devices and will change.

Going to the following directories and perusing the data will help me determine what type of data a certain application stores and how it stores it.

  • iCloud Artifacts:

    • /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/CloudKit/com.apple.bird/57T9237FN3.net.whatsapp.WhatsApp

  • /private/var/mobile/Library/Application Support/CloudDocs/session/containers/57T9237FN3.net.whatsapp.WhatsApp

  • The combination of the ‘Shared App Group’ and ‘Data Application’ directories will generally hold most of the user data associated with an application.

    • /private/var/mobile/Containers/Shared/AppGroup/133904F3-EAA0-48E9-905C-90BB93A7DDA2/

    • /private/var/mobile/Containers/Data/Application/97AD4FDE-2089-455A-8B21-06E4E2225626/

  • It is worth mentioning that if you are looking for the Applications bundle the Bundle ID will not get you there, instead look for the name of the App.

    • /private/var/containers/Bundle/Application/6B6D4621-845A-4EE7-AECF-D68CC00E5C4E/WhatsApp.app/

Finding the right directory/directories for the app in question can be time consuming. One of my favorite tools that solves this issue is cda. Using the same method above, I’ll upload this binary to my device.

As shown below, all you need to provide cda is a search term. I provided it the term ‘whatsapp’ and it provided me the same directories (more even) as above. If you’re not quite sure what you are looking for yet, provide it a single period ‘.’ and get a listing by Bundle ID. It is worth noting that this will only provide app data, if you are doing research on native iOS data you won’t get it using this – time to dig in and find it the hard way.

Looking into one of the WhatsApp directories, I start to get a feeling for what data an application is storing. You will normally find SQLite databases, plist files, media, log files and other files related to an application. ~90% of what you’ll be looking at are SQLite databases and plist files, so I’ll focus on those for this part of the article.

Starting with SQLite databases, we can use sqlite3 (provided by the binpack) on the device to triage the database. My process is to look at the database names first and see if anything is obvious. If I’m looking at a chat app, I’ll look for keywords like chat, message, etc. I’ll focus on WhatsApp’s ChatStorage.sqlite database for this example – seems like a reasonable choice for chat messages. Using sqlite3, I’ll dump the table listing and peruse it for anything interesting. Seems to me that ZWAMESSAGE would contain the chat messages!

Using a SQL SELECT statement I can dump the contents of this table; however this is where sqlite3 may not provide the best analytical view. In this case I might use scp to copy it off the device and use a GUI based SQL viewer to create queries and join multiple tables. (FWIW, I like DB Browser for SQLite). Need a SQLite reference guide, check out the one Heather Mahalik and I created for our classes (FOR585 – Advanced Smartphone Forensics, FOR518 – Mac Forensic Analysis and Incident Response).

I will still use sqlite3 for per-message testing to answer different questions.

  • What does xyz flag in this column mean? Are 0 and 1 the only values?

  • If I send a piece of media, what does it look like in the database? Is it stored in a different table?

  • Message direction or contact information which column stores that?

I will run the same query over and over testing different flags in different columns as I populate data manually on the device. Does this take time? Sure does! But it’s the only way to be sure. Applications are known to change database schemas and values as their application updates.

sqlite3 ProTip: Ctrl+D to quit out of the sqlite3 shell

Next let’s dive into those pesky plist files. For third party applications I will usually start in the applications Preferences directory. The Preferences directory will usually contain a configuration plist file containing some useful bits like usernames, servers, usage timestamps, keys, and passwords. Yes, plaintext, non-obfuscated passwords! 🤷🏻‍♀️

The example below is one for Whatsapp (specifically the one located in the Shared App Group directory. There may be multiple for each application.) I’m using jlutil (Jonathan’s interpretation of plutil, the native macOS utility, to view this plist.)

Another option is plconvert which will convert it to a text file representation and show a less-than-helpful representation on standard out. It will also output to an XML file, here named tmpfile by myself. I consider this slightly less “clean” as it will leave these converted files everywhere on the system, but it’s all personal preference. I will say the plconvert is more useful from a timestamp interpretation and data BLOB stance.

File Monitoring

Say you’re testing a application that has the ability to take photos using the iPhone camera. Where are those photos stored? Or how about if you toggle one of the switches in the Settings application, where is that stored? In a database or a plist file?

An easy way to figure this out is to use a file system monitor, it should at least point you in the right direction. As shown above I prefer to use the fsmon utility from NowSecure, however Jonathan’s binpack includes fs_usage which provides the same data. I prefer the layout of fsmon’s output.

In the example below, I took a picture of my sidekick Elwood with the Camera app on the iPhone while running fsmon. (I’d like to say he helped with this article, but he just slept all day next to me. Cats don’t make the best research assistants.) In the fsmon output you can see that when I took a picture, the “Camera” process saves the picture in a few temp files before it finally saves it in the DCIM directory as an HEIC file (the newer iOS image format) and creates a thumbnail image for the Camera app, PreviewWellImage.tiff.

I hope this helps everyone getting started doing their own iOS forensic research!

(In the rare event anyone wants to see my sidekick Elwood…here is the pic I took. Super Lazy.)

Slides and Script! From Apple Seeds to Apple Pie & Introducing APOLLO: The Apple Pattern of Life Lazy Output'er

I had the privilege and honor to present at the first ever Objective by the Sea Mac Security Conference yesterday in Maui (hardship, right?). It was only the first day and it was absolutely spectacular, I may have to make this one a regular! I can easily recommend attending this conference.

I presented From Apple Seeds to Apple Pie - an Apple Pattern of Life talk (mostly focused on iOS devices). You can find the slides in my Resources section.

I also just released a (very) beta version of APOLLO (Apple Pattern of Life Lazy Output’er) on my GitHub page. The TL;DR of the script: Take all the creepy databases that Apple writes events to, perform individual SQL queries on them to pull out investigative useful data, and combine them into another SQLite database for easier/quicker analysis and correlation.

This script and its modules are still in the testing phases so please be careful when using this on real cases. Expect more modules and testing to be released, I’m holding some back due to some timestamp issues and other are partially written up.

Knowledge is Power II – A Day in the Life of My iPhone using knowledgeC.db

iOS devices may potentially have more personal information and user patterns than their macOS counterparts. People tend to go about their daily lives with their mobile devices rarely being separated from them. In this post I will present to you a day in the life of my iPhoneX – Monday September 10, 2018.

My previous post on the knowledgeC.db database focused more on macOS devices versus iOS, with a few scattered iOS examples. This post will focus entirely on iOS analysis of this database. This database is located on physical dumps of devices in /private/var/mobile/Library/CoreDuet/Knowledge/knowledgeC.db. It is not captured by an iTunes backup.

The first query I would like to do execute for iOS analysis is a simple SQL query to show which “Stream Names” I have. These can provide an idea of what kind of data is potentially available.

SELECT
DISTINCT ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME
FROM ZOBJECT
ORDER BY ZSTREAMNAME

This query outputted the following streams. Some of these I’ve already covered in my previous post. Reading through some of these it is likely you can guess what some of them may contain.

  • /app/activity

  • /app/inFocus

  • /app/install

  • /app/intents

  • /app/locationActivity

  • /audio/inputRoute

  • /audio/outputRoute

  • /bluetooth/isConnected

  • /carplay/isConnected

  • /device/batteryPercentage

  • /device/isLocked

  • /device/isPluggedIn

  • /display/isBacklit

  • /display/orientation

  • /inferred/motion

  • /media/nowPlaying

  • /portrait/entity

  • /portrait/topic

  • /safari/history

  • /search/feedback

  • /siri/ui

  • /user/isFirstBacklightOnAfterWakeup

  • /watch/nearby

  • /widgets/viewed

Application Usage

Let’s start with what apps did I use on that day. I may have hundreds of apps on my phone but in reality, I use only a fraction. I used the following query from my previous post to capture all the “/app/inFocus” entries. I’ve screenshotted the majority of my day to give you a good idea of what this data looks like. My apologies in advance for the lengthiness of this post – but hey, everyone loves pictures! This is just one day’s worth of data, imagine having the same data for up to four weeks! I will never complain about too much data, queries and analysis can help you digest this information.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
    WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
    WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
    WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
    WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
    WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
    WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
    WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
END "DAY OF WEEK",
ZOBJECT.ZSECONDSFROMGMT/3600 AS "GMT OFFSET",
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE-ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE) as "USAGE IN SECONDS",
ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUESTRING
FROM ZOBJECT
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME IS "/app/inFocus" 
ORDER BY "START"

I started my “day” for this post on 09/09/2018 at 22:04:58, you will notice that all timestamps are recorded in local time (Eastern) as per my SQL query. Note the column ‘GMT OFFSET’ where it shows what time zone this data was recorded in. The following queries may not show some of these columns due to screenshot readability.

Around 22:04 on 09/09/2018 I checked my email (com.apple.mobilemail), Messages (com.apple.MobileSMS), and Twitter (com.atebits.Tweetie2). In fact, I spend a TON of time checking Twitter, I’m always on Twitter.

Next at 22:38:34 I check my Orangetheory app (com.shufflecloud.orangetheoryfitness) to see what time I need to head to the gym in the morning. I opened the app a couple of times trying to convince myself to keep my reservation. I actually cancel my class, I’m too sore from the previous day to go - don’t you judge me! If I’m not going to the gym in the morning – I can sleep in! I access the Clock app (com.apple.mobiletimer) to change my morning alarm.

Around 04:25 on Monday I wake up and can’t sleep fall back asleep so I put in my fancy shmancy Bose Sleepbuds and use the app (com.bose.corporation.bosesleep) to provide me some dreamy white noise. I proceed to wake up a couple times to adjust the white noise type and to change my alarm again (definitely sleeping in, I require lots of sleep to function as a human.) I finally wake at 7:55am to turn off the Sleepbuds and to check Messages and Slack (com.tinyspeck.chatlyio).

At 07:58 in the morning, I turn my alarm off (was set to go off at 08:00) and proceed to check email, Twitter, Weather, and Messages.

While getting ready for work I check Messages, send a Bitmoji using the Bitmoji keyboard (com.bitstrips.imoji.BitmojiKeyboard) in Messages and again check weather (Hurricane Florence is making her way in!)

At 09:49 at work, my coworker asks how my SANS Fantasy Football (com.espn.fantasyFootball) team did. I check my scores - I got destroyed by Alissa’s team. This is going to be a rough season.

Check email again and my calendar.

At 10:42, a quick check of Facebook (com.facebook.Facebook) and check a setting in the iOS Settings (com.apple.Preferences) application.

I got a phone call (com.apple.InCallService) at 11:25 but was unable to pick up as I was eating lunch. I called them back at 11:56 using the Phone app (com.apple.mobilephone), it was a 10 minute call that ended at 12:06. Notice the artifacts of app usage when you leave an app and come back to it 40 minutes later. I was using the Phone app for all of 2 seconds before switching to Facebook to gaze at photos of Stacy’s super cute puppy, Piper.

In the afternoon, I check some Slack, screw around with Settings, email, and of course check Twitter.

Finally commuting home, I need some Apple Music (com.apple.Music) to listen too! I have my phone hooked up to my car with CarPlay and I’m getting directions using Apple Maps (something about that makes the com.ubercab.UberClient.intentsextension go nuts!). I also use Siri in my car to create a Note (com.apple.mobilenotes.IntentsExtension) just after 18:00. (Hands free of course!)

I get home and proceed to listen to Apple Music, check Slack, email, Twitter, etc. I also check to see if I have an Orangetheory class scheduled – sure do! I set my alarm for zero dark thirty, I’m not canceling this one. I also edit a Note and check my calendar before I settle in to write this post.

The ‘app/inFocus’ gives a good rundown of what apps the user uses and when, however it is missing quite a bit of detail that can provide an investigator more context to what exactly the user was doing during these events.

Application Activity

The streams for ‘app/activity’ provide more details on what exactly the app is doing. I used the following query for this data. NOTE: For the sake of getting a readable screenshot, I’ve commented out a few columns (--) in my query below. When running you will just want to uncomment those lines or customize as necessary.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
--CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
--  WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
--  WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
--  WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
--  WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
--  WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
--  WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
--  WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
--END "DAY OF WEEK",
--datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
--datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
--ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUESTRING,
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAPPLICATIONACTIVITYMETADATAKEY__ACTIVITYTYPE AS "ACTIVITY TYPE",  
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAPPLICATIONACTIVITYMETADATAKEY__TITLE as "TITLE", 
datetime(ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAPPLICATIONACTIVITYMETADATAKEY__EXPIRATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "EXPIRATION DATE",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAPPLICATIONACTIVITYMETADATAKEY__ITEMRELATEDCONTENTURL as "CONTENT URL",
datetime(ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.ZCOM_APPLE_CALENDARUIKIT_USERACTIVITY_DATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME')  as "CALENDAR DATE",
datetime(ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.ZCOM_APPLE_CALENDARUIKIT_USERACTIVITY_ENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME')  as "CALENDAR END DATE"
FROM ZOBJECT
left join ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA on ZOBJECT.ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA = ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_PK
left join ZSOURCE on ZOBJECT.ZSOURCE = ZSOURCE.Z_PK
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME is "/app/activity" 
ORDER BY "ENTRY CREATION"

Sunday evening, I checked my email around 22:04:58. What emails was I actually reading? My Inbox - reading a message that I had just been added from the waitlist (hence the canceling of it later! (#DFIRFIT? More like #DFIRSore!)

Next, I changed my alarm to sleep in at 05:52 and to turn it off at 07:58. The activity type of com.apple.clock.alarm is a good way to tell what “screen” a certain app is using. For instance, I was not viewing the “World Clock”, “Stopwatch”, or “Timer” screens.

Around 17:54pm, I start to drive home. I used Maps (com.apple.Maps) through CarPlay to get directions. This is something that is nearly missed if you only look at /app/inFocus entries. The blurred section is my home address which is assigned to “Home” when I ask Siri to take me there.

When I got home at 18:42, I started browsing Twitter. Some apps yield more detailed information than others (other examples in my data include RedFin, Zappos, and Yelp). Each time I clicked though to a particular tweet (versus just aimlessly scrolling), it would record it as an activity type of “com.atebits.Tweetie2.spotlight”, complete with full URL to the tweet.

Piper is a good #DFIRpup.

Finally, I do a few more tasks before sitting down to write this. Set an alarm to get up, check a few days in my calendar and make sure I have the Apple Event in there – I need a new Apple Watch!

Application Intents

You can never have enough context when doing data analysis. We can use the “app/intents” entries for even more detail. I provided the query I used below with some items commented out for screenshot purposes.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
--CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
--  WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
--  WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
--  WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
--  WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
--  WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
--  WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
--  WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
--END "DAY OF WEEK",
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
--ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUESTRING,
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKINTENTMETADATAKEY__INTENTCLASS as "INTENT CLASS", 
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKINTENTMETADATAKEY__INTENTVERB as "INTENT VERB", 
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKINTENTMETADATAKEY__SERIALIZEDINTERACTION as "SERIALIZED INTERACTION",
ZSOURCE.ZBUNDLEID,
ZSOURCE.ZGROUPID,
ZSOURCE.ZITEMID,
ZSOURCE.ZSOURCEID
FROM ZOBJECT
left join ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA on ZOBJECT.ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA = ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_PK
left join ZSOURCE on ZOBJECT.ZSOURCE = ZSOURCE.Z_PK
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME is "/app/intents" 
ORDER BY "START"

Far more detail is provided in the “app/intents” entries. Messages sent, the “Serialized Interaction” provides message details (contact/message info) that can be correlated with the sms.db. If the Alarms were enabled or disabled, the “Serialized Interaction” BLOB provides the specific alarm GUID info if that is necessary to your investigation. Always look at BLOB data – you never know what you can find. This particular BLOB is an NSKeyedArchiver plist embedded into another NSKeyedArchiver plist – plist inception!

Note the two different Bundle IDs for the Sent Messages:

  • com.apple.MobileSMS – This one is used when I was actually interacting with the Messages application and typing my response.

  • com.apple.assistant_service – This one is used when Siri is “helping”. In my case I was using CarPlay to dictate my messages while on my commute. Siri (w/o CarPlay) looks similar.

Recall that I received a call (but was eating lunch) at 11:25. I called them back at 11:56. The intents are showing a “StartAudioCall” intent when I received the call (but didn’t take it) and when I ended the call at 12:06pm. Without testing, this can be misleading. Always test before making assumptions.

When driving home at 17:59, I created a Note and attempted to append text to that note. I can see the original note creation as well as attempted “Appends”. Sadly, Siri couldn’t understand what I wanted to do when I wanted to append the note, so she just read the title of all bajillion notes that I have (not super helpful Siri!). Some of the text in the “Serialized Interaction” show what Siri interpreted me saying.

When driving home, I asked Siri to take me “Home” and she populated the directions to my place in the Maps application. While you see an “EndNavigation” intent you may not necessarily see a “StartNavigation” intent. It depends on how you initiate the driving directions.

When I got home I also wanted listen to some NPR news through Apple Music app. This shows a Search and various “Selects”. Looking into these BLOBS you can see what I searched for and what I selected to listen to. (More on this in a bit.)

Finally, I append what I wanted to in the Note, manually this time (no thanks to Siri). I also update a calendar entry.

Device Status

The /device/* streams track the device’s status such as whether the device is plugged in, locked, and what the battery level is. This data is tracked in other databases as well (See my iOS of Sauron presentation), but I’ll never complain about data redundancy.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
    WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
    WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
    WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
    WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
    WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
    WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
    WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
END "DAY OF WEEK",
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE-ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE) as "USAGE IN SECONDS",
ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUEDOUBLE
FROM ZOBJECT
left join ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA on ZOBJECT.ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA = ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_PK
left join ZSOURCE on ZOBJECT.ZSOURCE = ZSOURCE.Z_PK
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME like "/device/%"  
ORDER BY "START"

The example shows when the device is locked (isLocked=1), unlocked (isLocked=0), unplugged (isPluggedIn=0), and plugged in (isPluggedIn=1) in the ZVALUEDOUBLE column. You can also see the battery charging and discharging in line with the plugged-in status.

Extracting just the /device/isPluggedIn events I can distill when this device was plugged into something. Sunday evening, I plugged the device in before going to sleep and unplugged it at 07:55 in the morning. At 08:42 in the morning, I plugged it into my car for my morning commute and unplugged it at 9:15 when I got to work.

In the afternoon I plugged it into my car again at 15:34-16:06 to drive to a different site and then finally plugged it in from 17:47-18:15 for my commute home.

This output doesn’t provide any detail into what the device was plugged into, but other streams can provide some hints.

Audio & Media

This database keeps track of what is playing (depending on the app) and how. The SQL query below is a good “all in one” query to use for all the audio and media events. The query examples I provide in screenshots have been edited down to be viewable.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
    WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
    WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
    WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
    WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
    WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
    WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
    WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
END "DAY OF WEEK",
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE-ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE) as "USAGE IN SECONDS",
ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUESTRING,
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAUDIOMETADATAKEY__IDENTIFIER as "AUDIO IDENTIFIER",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAUDIOMETADATAKEY__PORTNAME as "AUDIO PORT NAME",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKAUDIOMETADATAKEY__PORTTYPE as "AUDIO PORT TYPE",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKBLUETOOTHMETADATAKEY__ADDRESS as "BLUETOOTH ADDRESS",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKBLUETOOTHMETADATAKEY__NAME as "BLUETOOTH NAME",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKNOWPLAYINGMETADATAKEY__ALBUM as "NOW PLAYING ALBUM",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKNOWPLAYINGMETADATAKEY__ARTIST as "NOW PLAYING ARTIST",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKNOWPLAYINGMETADATAKEY__GENRE as "NOW PLAYING GENRE",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKNOWPLAYINGMETADATAKEY__TITLE as "NOW PLAYING TITLE",
ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_DKNOWPLAYINGMETADATAKEY__DURATION as "NOW PLAYING DURATION"
FROM ZOBJECT
left join ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA on ZOBJECT.ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA = ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_PK
left join ZSOURCE on ZOBJECT.ZSOURCE = ZSOURCE.Z_PK
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME like "/audio%" or ZSTREAMNAME like "/bluetooth%" or ZSTREAMNAME like "/media%" 
ORDER BY "START"

Starting with audio output and input, where we can get an idea of what type of device this phone was plugged into and how the audio directed.

This is an example of my afternoon commute. I plugged my phone into my car and used CarPlay. You can see indications of CarPlay and the iPhone Microphone. You may see this audio input go back and forth between CarAudio and Microphone in instances where the user is using Siri to do dictation for SMS messages, Maps, Music, Notes, etc. Just after I got home I listed to audio on my iPhone using my AirPods, note the “/Bluetooth/isConnect” connection switch.

It is worth noting here that my Bluetooth Bose QC35s show up in the Bluetooth/Audio events, but my Bose Sleepbuds did not.

Now that we know how the audio is routed, what was I listening to at the time? Everything I listen to gets recorded in (embarrassing) detail. On my commute to work I decided to get my day started with the 90s Radio Station in Apple Music. You can determine if I listened to a song or skipped it by looking at the ‘Usage is Seconds’ column (Sorry Spice Girls, you’re just not my jam). Looking at the data you may think I’m a huge Cher fan for listening to Believe for 22758+ seconds but remember it will record time from last “usage”. When I plugged my phone back into my car and it started playing where it left off.

On my jaunt between work sites, I put a podcast on and listened to the whole thing (~29 minutes). The “Usage in Seconds” column makes it look like I skipped it if you go with the logic that I presented with the Apple Music songs. It appears not all audio apps will store the data the same. This is an important caveat and another reason to test!

After I was done with my podcast, I switched back to music – the 80’s Radio Station this time. After work, I felt like I needed to rock out, so I asked Siri to “Play Muse”. The “Loading…” title gets recorded and a custom Muse playlist started playing.

Installed Apps

As expected this one keeps track of installed apps! Nothing more, nothing less. It does not appear to keep track of app updates.

SELECT
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZCREATIONDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "ENTRY CREATION", 
CASE ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDAYOFWEEK 
    WHEN "1" THEN "Sunday"
    WHEN "2" THEN "Monday"
    WHEN "3" THEN "Tuesday"
    WHEN "4" THEN "Wednesday"
    WHEN "5" THEN "Thursday"
    WHEN "6" THEN "Friday"
    WHEN "7" THEN "Saturday"
END "DAY OF WEEK",
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "START", 
datetime(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE+978307200,'UNIXEPOCH', 'LOCALTIME') as "END", 
(ZOBJECT.ZENDDATE-ZOBJECT.ZSTARTDATE) as "USAGE IN SECONDS",
ZOBJECT.ZSTREAMNAME, 
ZOBJECT.ZVALUESTRING
FROM ZOBJECT
left join ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA on ZOBJECT.ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA = ZSTRUCTUREDMETADATA.Z_PK
left join ZSOURCE on ZOBJECT.ZSOURCE = ZSOURCE.Z_PK
WHERE ZSTREAMNAME is "/app/install" 
ORDER BY "START"

Other Streams

A few other streams of interest:

  • /app/locationActivity – Contains location data, but not exactly what you think. In the examples I’ve seen on my own phone it was Redfin MLS locations – not where I was at a given moment.

  • /display/isBacklit – Was the display on or off?

    • 0 = no

    • 1 = yes

  • /display/orientation – How was the devices being viewed?

    • 0 = landscape

    • 1 = portrait

  • /safari/history – Safari history, same as macOS – see my previous article.

  • /watch/nearby – Determines if watch is within communication distance or not.

    • 0 = no

    • 1 = yes

  • /widgets/viewed – Swipe right to view widgets, it will show how many were “viewed” but not exactly which ones.

Now what?

Correlation! This database holds a serious amount of data and it can be easy to get tunnel vision. Think about correlating this data with the location data I’ve presented in other presentations and blog articles. Where was the user when they were looking at a specific app or browsing to a specific website? Were they driving distracted and watching YouTube when they shouldn’t have? If the user was using a specific app during a time of interest, go to that app’s data and look to see if it may contain data relevant to your investigation.