Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

The tool works on iPhones running the most recent public version of Apple's software, and has temporarily stopped law enforcement from complaining about strong encryption on mobile devices.

Earlier this month, we reported that iOS 12 introduces a new USB Restricted Mode that makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to thwart iPhone security. But with the upcoming update, Apple will shut down data access via the Lightning port after an hour if the correct passcode is not entered. After the relatively short time limit expires, iOS blocks communication through the USB port, making it impossible for existing devices to unlock an iPhone using brute force techniques. News of Apple's planned software update has begun spreading through security blogs and law enforcement circles-and many in investigative agencies are infuriated.

Apple said the change, which would disable the Lightning port on the bottom of iPhones an hour after users lock their phones, is part of software updates rolling out in the fall. Now, in a statement to Reuters, Apple has acknowledged these efforts and says they come in an effort to protect its customers... A federal judge ordered Apple to figure out how to open the phone, prompting Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, to respond with a blistering 1,100-word letter that said the company refused to compromise its users' privacy.

Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group, said law enforcement is in the "golden age of surveillance", with an unprecedented ability to look into people's lives and more data available than ever before.

With the roll-out of iOS 11.4, we saw Apple plug up a security loophole in the iPhone Lightning port, but the Cupertino firm has now announced that iOS 12 will take this fix to the extreme.




The Apple spokesperson said additional mitigation was added which would remove the USB as an attack surface when customers don't need it, without negatively impacting the user experience.

Eventually FBI found another way to access the data on the iPhone.

For example, over the past year, the district attorney's office in Baton Rouge, La., paid Cellebrite thousands of dollars to unlock iPhones in five cases, according to The New York Times. The company also noted that the method is not just used by law enforcement, as criminals, spies and other individuals have been known to employ the strategy.

"Graykey is a small (4 " x4 " x2") box sold to law enforcement forensics teams which breaks an iPhone's passcode.

Latest News