Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Spears Phone Monitored Using Common iCloud Trick

September 30, 2021

According to a recent article by Nicholas Hautman on, when Britney Spear’s father and conservator, Jamie Spears, wanted to monitor the pop star’s communications, he turned to Britney’s security team for help. However, when she decided to upgrade devices, things got more difficult according to Alex Vlascov, a former member of the team at Black Box Security who was quoted as saying “Britney wanted to get an iPhone … and that was a big deal. Everybody was worried.“

This was likely because third party monitoring software like parental control applications are not widely available for newer Apple iOS devices like they are for Android devices. This seemingly left the team searching for answers and Vlasov concerned about the legality of the monitoring. Others on the security and management teams apparently believed the monitoring was okayed by the court and her lawyer and was simply a matter of protecting the singer.

The method allegedly chosen to monitor activity on Spear’s new iPhone was to add another iOS device to the iCloud account it was syncing to. In this case they chose an iPad. This would have given them access to all synced data directly from the iPad which potentially included text messages, iMessages, phone records, photos, browser history and more.

This method of monitoring activity on iPhones is not novel, in fact it is far and away the most common method we have seen over the past few years at Sensei, especially when it comes to family law matters. Even if these specific allegations are proven not to be true, it stands as a good reminder to be cautious with one’s device security. Setting up your own iCloud and enabling two-factor authentication would almost certainly negate this kind of monitoring attempt. 

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