Apple to block 'cracking' used by law enforcement to unlock iPhones

Apple to block 'cracking' used by law enforcement to unlock iPhones

Following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation fought but later dropped a legal battle to make the company unlock the suspect's iPhone, reports Engadget.

The FBI subsequently gained access to the iPhone through the services of a private firm known as Cellebrite. However, the latest announcement appears to reiterate that the company is serious about retaining the notch design in its upcoming iPhones.

But some things were not still clear, Afonin added. All one needs to do is plug it into the iPhone's Lightning port and GrayKey will unlock the device in as soon as three hours to as long as three days depending on the length and complexity of the passcode.

"In our test, we were able to confirm the USB lock after the device has been left idle for 7 days". This basically locks the device in a way that it can not be restored or updated via iTunes after the threshold period is met. That said, there is no way for authorities to know when the phone was last unlocked, so the seven days isn't a precise window.

The iOS 11.4 update includes a security feature that restricts the Lightning port from connecting to computers and other USB devices.

It will take some time for a compromise between device manufacturers and law enforcement that will both protect user privacy and give investigators access to data they require for their investigations. With this new feature, this option will be disabled if the device is unlocked for 7 days.

It's called USD Restricted Mode that will disable the data transfer using Lightning port if the device will not get used for a week. But Apple has come up with a way to possibly thwart the machines made by companies like GrayShift and Cellebrite.

That'll likely anger law enforcement agencies who have reportedly been able to unlock iPhones in criminal investigations easily, using gadgets like the GrayKey. The company and authorities are nearly playing a game of cat and mouse, with police doing everything to thwart Apple's safeguards, even going as far as using dead people's fingers. Fortunately, it doesn't completely freeze the iPhone or iPad and only affects those devices running iOS 11.3 or the iOS 11.4 beta.

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