Data recovery is now possible from Apple Silicon systems - at a cost

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 15
A data recovery firm says that it is now able to recover data from catastrophically damaged Macs with Apple Silicon chips -- likely becoming the first company to have that ability.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


DriveSavers says that it has identified the components needed to access data from Mac devices with M1, M2, and T2 chips. The company says that it is able to pull data from Apple Silicon chips by transferring the chips from severely damaged boards to functional ones.

"The talent and expertise of DriveSavers data recovery engineers are unmatched," said Mike Cobb, DriveSavers' Director of Engineering. "Add to that the company's enormous inventory of donor devices, including the latest MacBook Pro, that we're able to strip for parts at a moment's notice. DriveSavers is hands-down the most capable at recovering data from these ultra-advanced, ultra-secure devices."

According to the company, DriveSavers engineers are able to use micro soldering techniques to recover data from a large number of flash memory devices, including those installed in iPhones and M-series Mac devices.

DriveSavers says that Apple has "done their best to obfuscate what is necessary to gain access to the encrypted data." However, it says that its engineers have identified the critical security components need to remain connected to each other for the data to be accessible.

The company said it first published news of its capabilities in early August. Since no other company has come forth to claim that they can also recover data from damaged Apple Silicon, DriveSavers believes it is the "first and only" company with the capability.

Pricing has not been announced. Data recovery can run into the thousands of dollars, even without chip transfer.

This is not the first time that DriveSavers have figured out to bypass security mechanisms on Apple products. Back in 2018, the company announced a new service reportedly able to break through passcode locks on iPhones.

Read on AppleInsider
gnanadev

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    JP234JP234 Posts: 195member
    When you really, really, really need to recover data you stupidly didn't back up, DriveSavers is your best (and should be your only) choice. As a former service writer for an Apple-Authorized VAR, I personally had people come in crying their eyes out because they thought they'd lost their wedding, baby, or one-time photos. I've had companies come in with equipment damaged in fires and floods.

    They all gulped when I told them what it would cost. Thankfully, DriveSavers bills the enduser directly, and gives resellers a commission. They provide free shipping both ways, and free estimates if data is recoverable. They have contracts with government agencies like the FBI, so you know your data will never be compromised by bad actors.

    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobraforgot username
  • Reply 2 of 15
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,189member
    There are two kinds of people, Those that HAVE lost data from a system disaster
    And those that WILL lose data from a system disaster. 
    Have backups, have multiple layers of backup. I keep three,
    One for Time Machine that is next to my system.
    iCloud for particular critical docs.
    And a third off site HDD that I bring home regularly and grab a copy of everything. 
    And to be honest I keep wondering if I should have another one just in case.

    DriveSavers is very good at what they do. But like an ER doctor, you shouldn’t put yourself in a position where you need their services.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,008member
    JP234 said:
    When you really, really, really need to recover data you stupidly didn't back up, DriveSavers is your best (and should be your only) choice. As a former service writer for an Apple-Authorized VAR, I personally had people come in crying their eyes out because they thought they'd lost their wedding, baby, or one-time photos. I've had companies come in with equipment damaged in fires and floods.

    They all gulped when I told them what it would cost. Thankfully, DriveSavers bills the enduser directly, and gives resellers a commission. They provide free shipping both ways, and free estimates if data is recoverable. They have contracts with government agencies like the FBI, so you know your data will never be compromised by bad actors.

    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.
    Describe how they're breaking the encryption on the T2 chip. The data is encrypted using the user's password/Apple-ID but I imagine also something like a combination of the serial number, hardware and provisioning UUIDs and maybe even something else specific to the individual hardware (M1 or M2 SoC). To replicate this, they'd need everything used on the original Mac to encrypt data on the T2 chip and have a way to put that data into a test bed and hope it works. If they've found a back door or a bug, then Apple needs to patch it. The article is only talking about what's held in the M1, M2 and T2 chips and the storage area might be outside the normal T2 encryption although the T2 chip handles the encryption of storage.  
    JP234watto_cobragnanadev
  • Reply 4 of 15
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 143member
    JP234 said:
    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.

    I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 587member
     I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up.”

    Ditto. I think cloud services has made backups a thing of the past. And Apple has too much riding on all their products. At some point, you have to move on and decide to worry about something else.

    And if you don’t want to pay for cloud services, then you’ve made a decision, to be stuck in the past.
    edited August 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 855member
    rob53 said: Describe how they're breaking the encryption on the T2 chip.

    I don’t see any claim that Drivesavers is breaking the encryption.  If you’re trying to recover your own data, breaking the encryption shouldn’t be a prerequisite.  

    I’ve used Driversavers for a few clients and they do excellent work.  Its not cheap but they don’t charge if they fail to deliver.  


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 176member
    geekmee said:
    “ I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up.”

    Ditto. I think cloud services has made backups a thing of the past. And Apple has too much riding on all their products. At some point, you have to move on and decide to worry about something else.

    And if you don’t want to pay for cloud services, then you’ve made a decision, to be stuck in the past.
    If you really believe that cloud services back up everything you store on them to the 99.9% reliability level, you’re either purposefully ignoring published reports of data loss in the cloud, or just living in cloud-cuckoo land. You should always have two or more ways to access copies of your critical data. Either way, I guess, it’s a “decision.”

    Since iCloud storage serves many purposes, it’s unclear whether it’s optimized for data integrity for backup purposes (as opposed to say, Backblaze, who make most of their money off backup services), or what its history of data loss has been.
    watto_cobraviclauyycmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 15
    sirdir said:
    JP234 said:
    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.

    I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up. 
    Are you serious – I am quite sure that Apple is not liable for data loss that occurs in iCloud. Second I would never store any private data in any cloud.
    viclauyycmuthuk_vanalingamwizdomonwheels
  • Reply 9 of 15
    JP234JP234 Posts: 195member
    rob53 said:
    Describe how they're breaking the encryption on the T2 chip. The data is encrypted using the user's password/Apple-ID but I imagine also something like a combination of the serial number, hardware and provisioning UUIDs and maybe even something else specific to the individual hardware (M1 or M2 SoC). To replicate this, they'd need everything used on the original Mac to encrypt data on the T2 chip and have a way to put that data into a test bed and hope it works. If they've found a back door or a bug, then Apple needs to patch it. The article is only talking about what's held in the M1, M2 and T2 chips and the storage area might be outside the normal T2 encryption although the T2 chip handles the encryption of storage.  
    Wel, Rob, since the customer is handing over his device to them, wouldn't you get the general idea that said customer would provide necessary information? If the user can access it, DriveSavers can access it. They've recovered raw data off hard drives that have bullet holes through them. I've seen it! Not to mention that Apple itself recommends DriveSavers to its customers. And there is no such thing as unbreakable encryption.
    edited August 15 watto_cobrawizdomonwheels
  • Reply 10 of 15
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    sirdir said:
    JP234 said:
    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.

    I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up. 
    Are you serious – I am quite sure that Apple is not liable for data loss that occurs in iCloud. Second I would never store any private data in any cloud.
    Wonder if Google lost any data in their recent mishaps about a week ago.  Two separate(?) issues, one was a data center fire, second was a flash-over arc at a panel with injuries.  Hope Google (and other cloud providers) have mirrored backup facilities, separated by wide distances (hundreds or thousands of miles), since these sites could be major targets in the future for those wishing to disrupt US businesses.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    sirdir said:
    JP234 said:
    But in the end, just back everything up, people! you'll save THOUSANDS by never needing to use DriveSavers. They'll tell you the same thing.

    I don't backup anymore. I have all my relevant data in iCloud. Hopefully Apple doesn't screw up. 
    I’ll chime in with my 2 cents as well.  I recently had an internet outage here, and if I needed to recover something, I would have been up a creek without a paddle if my backups were in the cloud.  Using cloud storage for back ups would not be as reliable or as fast as say connecting a USB drive to your Mac.  A full restore takes long enough over usb, think of what it would be over the internet.

    if you’re referring to just storing your data in the cloud, and hoping the provider manages its own backups, that may help you if they lost or munged up the data, but what if something changed it on your end, such as malware or a malicious user who gained access to your Mac? Your original data would subsequently be lost with no way to get it back.  The cloud provider would see it as just a new set of bits to store.
    wizdomonwheelsmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 15
    If you trust the cloud with your data and have no backup otherwise, you’re one mistake or hacked account away from losing your stuff.
    I’ve seen lost data on just about every cloud service.
    A good friend had her number ported and they encrypted (find my locked) all her apple devices then stole countless accounts.
    Another client downloaded Mac ransomware 4 or 5 years back and had all their stuff encrypted and would have been lost had he relied entirely on the cloud.
    Yet another got ransomware on their pc and the shared Dropbox folder for the entire company got encrypted.
    30 day recovery only works if you can get back in the account.

    I’m only the messenger though, you take your chances.
    edited August 17 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 15
    My own near data loss situation was due to my own hubris. I wanted to start fresh on a iMac and didn’t think I had anything important on it - plus it was backed up with Time Machine. So I wiped it.
    a few months later my Time Machine drive got full so I wiped it after thinking I had everything. A year later I realize that iMac had our wedding photos and other photos on it before the wipe!

    Thank goodness I had cloud backup at the time (Mozy Home), 50GB of photos took around a month to restore but at least they were back.
    Never again will I be in that same situation. We can all make mistakes, get hacked, have computers physically die or get stolen. Backup, backup, backup.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    The perfect backup is of course the NSA. They have everything...................
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