German researchers have found a bizarre new way of breaking Android encryption model.
Ever wondered what would happen to your smartphone if you stored it in the freezer? Well, according to a group of German researchers, it actually allows the user to bypass the phone’s security locks, Cellular-News has reported.
Ironically enough, it is the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android operating system that can be frozen and subsequently cracked.
This particular operating system transparently scrambles user partitions to protect sensitive user information from targeted attacks, which can bypass screen locks.
However, this has proved to be something of a problem in the world of crime forensics, so researchers at Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University set about discovering how to break that functionality.
Testing their equally appropriately named Frost software on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone, they were able to retrieve sensitive information, including contact lists, visited web sites, and photos from the device’s memory.
The method required the smartphone to be placed in a freezer for at least an hour at minus15 degrees Celsius while it was still switched on. Quickly reset by removing the battery for less than half a second, there are several key presses to force the phone into a fast-boot mode.
At this stage, hooking the phone up to the Frost software allows the user to access the phone memory and download the content for later analysis.
So, a quick and easy process, then. At least for those of us in possession of the ever-popular, forensic-grade Frost software.