Apple is working on a feature that can seriously improve their devices’ security by making iPhone-unlocking tools, such as Cellebrite or GrayKey, a thing of the past.
Just recently, the company introduced their newest security feature, the USB Restricted Mode, which can kill off all data transfer from the device within an hour.
The new feature will close the ongoing security loophole that has been used by the police to unlock iOS devices.
Basically, when connected to a USB accessory, the feature will force users to unlock the device with a passcode if the phone has not been unlocked for an hour.
Before introducing USB Restricted Mode, the iPhone was not the most secure option on the market, as even cheaper tools could bypass its encryption and severely damage users’ privacy.
Apple Refuses to Give a Backdoor to Authorities
After a terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2016, Apple refused to follow an order from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to unlock the device that belonged to one of the shooters in the attack.
Back then, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly declared in an open letter that he would not compromise Apple devices by creating a backdoor for investigators’ use. According to him, this was something that is “too dangerous to create.”
Often, authorities hack these devices in order to obtain the evidence needed for their investigations. It is exactly what led them to use cheap tools, usually developed by security firms, in order to get a hold on this information.
A Simple Device Called GrayKey Can Easily Bypass iPhone Encryption
While Cellebrite is a much more expensive option, Grayshift is very affordable. Their product, called GrayKey, appeared on the market in 2017, with the sole purpose of unblocking iPhones.
GrayKey is a small gray device, with two cables on it used for connecting two iPhones at a time. After the phone is connected to this device, it takes up to two minutes to disconnect the phone.
The cracking process depends on the password strength, but it can go from two hours to three days or even more. GrayKey costs $15,000 but can be used to decrypt iPhones countless times.
However, now with the new Apple feature, this will no longer be such an easy task.
Apple Is Back in the Game
With their latest update, Apple has once again regained the trust that was briefly lost. However, their new move has raised questions, as people have different opinions regarding the issue. And while many support the new update, others are against it.
With the new update, Apple plans to disable the ports which are used for charging, connecting a USB cable, or plugging earphones after one hour of staying locked.
In comparison, before, the ports were active for a longer time, enabling third parties to compromise the phone. From now on, you will need a password if you want these ports to be active.
Nevertheless, this won’t be the case when you charge your phone.
At the Worldwide Developers Conference that was held at the beginning of June this year, Apple gave a small teaser about the release of their new operating system, iOS 12.
The system will include this feature, but even some previous iPhone versions have been including it.
Bottom line: the company is often a choice for people involved in illegal activities, mostly due to its security, durability and the memory storage.
This is also the reason why this new update can be both positive and negative in the eyes of the public. Nevertheless, it’s a huge step towards ensuring the security of Apple users.
The new operating system, iOS 12, is slated to be released in September of this year.