Apple to officially bless USB-C with 2019 iPhone

Isaac Cain
June 14, 2018

In an upcoming version of iOS (likely iOS 12), Apple will include a feature known as USB Restricted Mode which limits access to a locked iPhone through its USB port. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", the company said in a statement.

The company's chief executive, Tim Cook, has hailed privacy as a "fundamental" right and skewered both Facebook and one of Apple's biggest rivals, Google, for vacuuming vast amounts of personal information about users of their free services to sell advertising based on their interests.

Several forensic companies have been marketing their machines to law enforcement agencies around the world - selling them for thousands of dollars, and offering per-phone prices as low as $50 (£38).

Police across the country are purchasing a tool called GrayKey. In 2016, the company refused a demand from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it create software to circumvent encryption technology on an iPhone that had belonged to a suspect in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Law enforcement and security teams are unlikely to be the only people affected. iPhone peripherals have industrial and medical uses - and DJs had better not wander too far from the decks.

However, the exploit used by law enforcement and hackers may soon be largely thwarted by the Cupertino giant.

More news: Star Fox is Available in Starlink Exclusively On Nintendo Switch

Police and forensics officials in the United States are understood to be using a piece of kit called GrayKey, which takes around three to six days to work out a six digit passcode.

According to security researchers, forcing law enforcement or hackers to get to a targeted iPhone within an hour should reduce access to these units by 90%.

The FBI didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the first 10 months of 2017, the Manhattan district attorney's office said it had recovered and obtained warrants or consent to search 702 locked smartphones, two-thirds of which were iPhones. This has allowed law enforcement officials and others to easily gain access to pretty much any iPhone.

Apple and most private security experts argue that government contractors and others can usually find means of cracking devices.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER