Mobile Verification Toolkit (MVT) is a collection of utilities to simplify and automate the process of gathering forensic traces helpful to identify a potential compromise of Android and iOS devices.
On iOS, the process is to perform an iTunes backup of the phone, decrypt the backup, then analyze the data for indicators of compromise known to be in use. Since there is no iTunes for us, we use the open source imobiledevice utilities to create a backup off the iPhone. PIN code of the iPhone is required.
On Android, it uses adb to perform a backup of the SMS database. It also uses adb to download packages off the device and verify them against VirusTotal and Koodous online services to determine if they are known to be malware.
This is a guide on how I ran it under Qubes on an iOS and Android device. This is going to be long so bear with me…
- Performing a backup of a mobile device will include sensitive data (such as photos). Don’t leave the data sitting around after you’re done. Forensic investigators love backups…
- This is why the instructions will use Disposable VMs
- USB redirection with sys-usb was not reliable for me. Therefore the qube running mvt had the USB controller attached to it.
- If you use a USB keyboard, don’t follow this verbatim.
- If you have stuff connected via USB, don’t follow this verbatim.
- What you can do is make your sys-usb disposable, give it network, and just run all install commands within it, knowing everything will be lost after restarting your disposable sys-usb.
- This installs software outside of the package manager. This means package signing and integrity verification are not being performed for:
- Python packages being installed with pip.
- Code being downloaded from GitHub.
- Java jars being built using online Maven repositories, which pulls other code in.
- So, all of the above could be used to exploit your VM and/or your phone.
- Create a template VM that contains package manager dependencies
- Create a Disposable Template from the above template that installs the non-package-manager software into /usr/local
- Create named Disposable VMs that use the Disposable Template to run the software.
This way, the named Disposable VMs will inherit package manager packages from the template, mvt and other stuff from the disposable template, and after shutting down the VM, no data will be retained.
Open Qube Manager
Select debian-10, right-click, Clone qube
- A minimal Debian should work but probably needs extra packages; I haven’t investigated which ones, but udev-related stuff might be missing.
Name it “mvt-template”
Open a terminal in mvt-template
Install software requirements:
sudo apt install git python3 python3-pip libusb-1.0-0 sqlite3 \ libimobiledevice-utils \ adb openjdk-11-jre maven
Create Disposable Template:
- Create Qubes VM
- Call it “mvt-dvm”
- Template: mvt-template
- Networking: sys-firewall or whatever you want, but this is only temporary
- Click ‘launch settings after creation’
- Hit OK
- In Settings:Advanced, check Disposable VM Template, Hit Apply
- In Settings:Advanced: set Default DisposableVM Template to mvt-dvm
Install mvt software into /rw of mvt-dvm:
Right-click mvt-dvm, Start/Resume qube
Open a terminal in mvt-dvm (Q icon, mvt-dvm, Run Terminal)
Install mvt. Note this is the most vulnerable part of the installation since we will be downloading stuff without any sort of signatures.
mkdir ~/mvt-install cd ~/mvt-install # Get stuff git clone https://github.com/mvt-project/mvt git clone https://github.com/nelenkov/android-backup-extractor wget https://github.com/AmnestyTech/investigations/raw/master/2021-07-18_nso/pegasus.stix2 # Install mvt to /usr/local cd ~/mvt-install/mvt sudo pip3 install . # Yes, no sudo is needed to install to ~/.local, but I want it at /usr/local # Install abe to /usr/local cd ~/mvt-install/android-backup-extractor mvn clean package sudo mv target/abe.jar /usr/local/bin/abe.jar # Install IOCs stix2 file to /usr/local cd ~/mvt-install sudo mkdir /usr/local/share/mvt-iocs sudo cp pegasus.stix2 /usr/local/share/mvt-iocs
At this point software is installed to:
Disable networking for mvt-dvm
~/mvt-install can be removed now.
Create App VMs for running mvt:
Create non-networked mvt-device AppVM for device extraction.
This has to be done through the command line because we are creating a named disposable VM. This a VM that will derive initial data from mvt-dvm, but will lose everything in /home after shutdown.
qvm-create --class DispVM --template mvt-dvm --label gray mvt-device
Edit settings of mvt-device
In Settings:Advanced, set Mode to HVM, hit Apply
In Settings:Devices, assign it your USB controller, hit Apply
In Applications, make sure Run Terminal is in the Selected column
Increase the Private volume size - this will need to be big enough to store 2 full device backups. If there are lots of pictures, files, and apps on the phone, you might need to increase this significantly. FWIW on a phone with only a handful of pictures and only WhatsApp installed, the backup was 500MB.
Create networked mvt-network AppVM for checking Android [optional]:
qvm-create --class DispVM --template mvt-dvm --label blue mvt-network
Edit settings of mvt-network
Networking: sys-firewall, sys-whonix, sys-vpn, etc
Make sure Run Terminal is in the Selected column of Applications
This might need more Private Volume size as well - it will [temporarily] have copies of apps installed on the android device.
Running mvt on an iOS device:
Shutdown sys-usb if you have it running.
- If you have a USB keyboard or other USB accessories connected, you will lose them, so stop here if you’re unsure how to handle this.
Open a terminal in mvt-device. From dom0:
qvm-run mvt-device qubes-run-terminal
Connect iPhone to the USB Port
Expect a Trust prompt on the iPhone; approve it with the PIN. If this step does not complete, try again with
Enable backup encryption and enter a password used to encrypt the backup.
It does not matter much as it will immediately be decrypted. This is needed because an encrypted backup contains more data than an unencrypted backup.
idevicebackup2 -i backup encryption on
Perform the backup to directory “step1-encrypted”
cd ~ mkdir mvt-ios-data cd ~/mvt-ios-data mkdir step1-encrypted idevicebackup2 backup --full step1-encrypted
Decrypt the backup to directory “step2-decrypted”
cd ~/mvt-ios-data mvt-ios decrypt-backup -d step2-decrypted step1-encrypted/*
Perform an analysis of the backup and get results to “step3-results”
cd ~/mvt-ios-data mvt-ios check-backup --iocs /usr/local/share/mvt-iocs/pegasus.stix2 --output step3-results step2-decrypted
Review any red WARNINGs here…these are possible indicators of compromise
Review other data in step3-results, for example timeline.csv shows a chronology of usage.
Clean up by unpairing the iPhone and mvt-device AppVM
Unplug the iPhone
Review any other data in the backup. When the VM is shutdown, this data will be lost.
Running mvt on Android device to check SMS links:
Enable developer options on the phone [Settings/About/tap build 7 times]
Go into developer options on the phone [Settings/System/Developer options]
Enable USB Debugging
Plug in the phone to the USB port
Open temrinal in mvt-device, from dom0:
qvm-run mvt-device qubes-run-terminal
Make sure adb can see the device in mvt-device:
# Confirm on the phone to accept the fingerprint and authorize your Qubes computer adb devices
Run a backup of SMS. This will ask for a password on the phone to encrypt the backup. Doesn’t matter much because it’ll be immediately decrypted.
mkdir ~/mvt-android-data cd ~/mvt-android-data adb backup com.android.providers.telephony # should give a backup.ab file
Decrypt and extract the backup with android-backup-extractor
cd ~/mvt-android-data java -jar /usr/local/bin/abe.jar unpack backup.ab backup.tar tar xvf backup.tar
Check the backup with mvt-android:
mvt-android check-backup --iocs /usr/local/share/mvt-iocs/pegasus.stix2 --output . .
The above doesn’t appear to check IOCs, but does give an sms.json file showing text messages that contained hyperlinks.
grep body sms.json # investigate suspicious links
Checking the APKs (packages) of the android device
Retrieve APKs from the device
cd ~/mvt-android-data adb kill-server # Make sure screen is unlocked and on to reauthorize USB debugging, keep trying if it doesn't make it past 1 line of output mvt-android download-apks -o android-apks
Copy APKs to mvt-network
# select mvt-network as the target VM qvm-copy ~/mvt-android-data/android-apks
In mvt-network, check APKs against VirusTotal and Koodous
cd ~/QubesIncoming/mvt-device/android-apks mvt-android download-apks -A -f packages.json
Cleanup for android in mvt-device:
- In Developer options on the phone, tap Revoke USB debugging authorizations
- Disable USB debugging
- Unplug the phone
When mvt-device or mvt-network are shutdown, the backup data in /home will be gone. Booting them up again should yield a fresh /home directory, but with mvt still installed at /usr/local.