CODE CRACKER

302_sherlock_holmes_-_07ElcomSoft’s password cracker is so good they almost went to jail for it. Now they have a new beta version for the iPhone and iPod Touch that can crack any password, encrypted or not, to retrieve address books, call logs, text message archives, calendars, photos, voice mails, emails, apps and Web history. The beta version is free to try at elcomsoft.com/download/eppb.zip.

ElcomSoft is a Russian software company specializing in cryptography. They sell numerous programs for cracking encrypted files, passwords, protection codes, etc. Some are quite expensive: $1,400. But others cost as little $39.

Is any of this legal? Well, apparently it is. We did some research and found that this is a more open issue than one would think. Several years ago one of the company’s programmers was giving a talk about their software at a trade show in California when he was arrested right on stage and hauled off to jail. The complaint had been brought by Adobe, which was upset that ElcomSoft’s software was able to break the protective code which prevents the copying of eBooks.

The resultant jury trial in Federal Court in San Jose, California, ended in an acquittal on December 17th, 2002. We could find no trace of a subsequent retrial or any Elcom programmer arrests on other charges. As far as the record goes, this thing remains wide open.

Who uses such software? A spokesperson for ElcomSoft claimed their programs are used by government intelligence agencies, police departments and large corporations, and it certainly makes sense that they would.

If you go to their website, you’ll see a range of encrypted code crackers starting at $39 going up to $1400 for corporations and government agencies. Their lower-priced products all have trial versions and include software for opening locked Microsoft Office files, encrypted PDFs, zip files, etc.

If password recovery is your only concern, you can also consider AccentSoft’s “Office Password Recovery 5.0.” The latest version is up to sixty times faster, they say, and supports Microsoft Office 2010 on up, including PowerPoint files. It’s $60 from accentsoft.com.

One Response to “CODE CRACKER”

  1. There couldn’t be a retrial on this as he was acquitted.