This guide gives you a step-by-step procedure to conduct forensic analysis of an iOS device using Mobile Verification Toolkit (MVT) created by Amnesty Tech team.
People are struggling to analyze iOS devices due to the complexity of the procedure on Linux. We have decided to use Docker because latest versions of iOS require the use of a version of
libimobiledevice which is not available on Linux yet. We use
libimobiledevice to backup the iOS device instead of using iTunes.
This guide has been successfully tested on Ubuntu 20.04 with:
- iOS 13.5.1
- iOS 14.5
- iOS 14.7
- A Debian-based operating system
- A root access on your computer
- Docker already installed
- Knowledge in Linux command-line
Follow each step in the same terminal session.
Prepare your computer
1. Create a directory for your investigations
mkdir Pegasus_investigations cd Pegasus_investigations
2. Prepare directory structure
mkdir ioc backup decrypted checked
3. Retrieve IOC provided by Amnesty International
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AmnestyTech/investigations/master/2021-07-18_nso/pegasus.stix2 -O ioc/pegasus.stix2
If you want to learn more about the IOC, check the Amnesty Tech repository.
4. Retrieve the Dockerfile
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mvt-project/mvt/main/Dockerfile -O Dockerfile
5. Build the Docker image
Depending on you setup, we would have to be root from this step to the end of the investigation.
docker build -t mvt .
Prepare the iOS device to be analyzed
6. Plug your iOS device to your computer
Do not unplug it until the end of the backup procedure and be sure to keep the device unlocked
7. Stop the USB mixer
systemctl stop usbmuxd
This command could take a bit of time, just wait.
8. Start the Docker container
docker run -it --privileged --rm -v /dev/bus/usb:/dev/bus/usb --net=host \ -v $PWD/ioc:/home/cases/ioc \ -v $PWD/decrypted:/home/cases/decrypted \ -v $PWD/checked:/home/cases/checked \ -v $PWD/backup:/home/cases/backup \ mvt
Now any command you run will be executed inside the container.
9. Start the USB mixer
The iOS device may be asking you if you trust the connected computer, trust it.
10. Check if the iOS is recognized
Backup the iOS device
11. Turn backup encryption on
idevicebackup2 backup encryption on -i
12. Backup the iOS device
idevicebackup2 backup --full backup/
Once done, you can unplug the iOS device. Run
ls -l backup to get the name of the backup.
Analyze the backup
13. Decrypt the backup
mvt-ios decrypt-backup -p <backup password> -d decrypted backup/<backup name>
For more details and options, check the MVT documentation and the note regarding the backup password. If you have backed up this phone using iTunes, the backup password is the same as the one you provided in iTunes.
14. Analyze the backup
mvt-ios check-backup -o checked --iocs ioc/pegasus.stix2 decrypted
15. Check the results
ls -l checked
checked contains several JSON files.
Any IOC matches are stored in JSON files suffixed by
16. Exit the container
17. Save the outputs
If you want to keep the files generated during the forensic procedure, backup the following folders:
backupcontaining the iOS backup
decryptedcontaining the decrypted backup
checkedcontaining the results of MVT analysis