Apple steps up encryption to thwart police cracking
Apple told the Times that with its next iOS update, your iPhone’s data port will be disabled an hour after the phone is locked.
The company will include a new feature, called USB Restricted Mode, in a future update of its iOS software, which runs on iPhones and iPads.
Law enforcement agencies have long used this small loophole for accessing the personal data of users by using “cracking” software such as GrayKey Box which uses the data connection of the device to brute force a passcode giving complete access of the device to officials. According to Apple spokesman Fred Sainz, this fix is being issued to fix a security hole, not “frustrate” law enforcement efforts.
At the time Apple CEO Tim Cook said complying would be “too risky”, requiring a new version of the iPhone’s software that could allow anyone to unlock any iPhone they possessed.
“It will make it harder to break into their phones, but I’m confident that someone will find a way in, just as they did previously even though Apple said it was impossible”, Gold said via email. As far as Apple is concerned, however, it’s a matter of security and privacy for consumers, both of which are compromised by certain third-party devices.
Apple has been at the center of such debates since it declined Federal Bureau of Investigation requests to unlock an iPhone 5C used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shooting in 2015 that left 14 people dead.
This is how machines made by forensic companies GrayShift, Cellebrite and others connect and get around the security provisions that limit how many password guesses can be made before the device freezes them out or erases data.
As for sales, Zhang predicts Apple will manufacture 100 million units and ship 85 million of them before the year ends.
The device costs thousands of dollars, lowering the possibility of it becoming widely used outside of law enforcement, but police departments are apparently leaning on the devices frequently.
A security gap that allowed individuals to gain access to personal information from locked iPhones without the need for a password is to be closed by Apple.
The news of the software update is angering law enforcement agencies. And while the frustration is understandable, the fact is plenty of data and communications are stored in the cloud, untouched by device encryption. Apple said that since 2013, it has responded to more than 55,000 requests from the United States government seeking information about more than 208,000 devices, accounts or financial identifiers.