APPLE'S MUCH TALKED ABOUT cop-thwarting 'USB Restricted Mode' has finally arrived in iOS 11.4.1, but Grayshift claims to have already "defeated it".
USB Restricted Mode, originally spotted in iOS 11.3 and tipped to arrive in Apple's battery-slurping iOS 11.4 update, is designed to prevent third parties (read: cops) from gaining access to iPhones and iPads by using lightning-connected gadgets to crack users' passcodes and evade Apple's safety mechanisms.
To enable the feature in iOS 11.4.1 - which also brings with it bug fixes and improvements to 'Find My AirPods - head to Settings > Face ID (or Touch ID, on older iPhones) & Passcode and you'll see a new toggle for USB Accessories.
The option is off by default, confusingly, which means that if a device has been locked for an hour or more, iOS won't allow physical data connections.
Apple says it's introduced USB Restricted Mode to strengthen "security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves, and intrusions into their personal data."
"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 firm added.
Despite Apple's claims that the feature isn't intended to hamper the work of law enforcement, the firm has been facing-off with cops since 2016, when the FBI demanded that Apple unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the San Bernardino gunmen killed by police.
While Apple refused to play nice, saying at the time it was an "unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers", cops have since had help from the likes of Grayshift's GreyKey box, a tool that promises to help law enforcement unlock iPhones in a fraction of the time it usually takes.
According to Malwarebytes, the $15,000 device can unlock iPhones as recent as the iPhone X and is capable of cracking six-digit passcodes in roughly three days.
And, according to recent email correspondence seen by Motherboard, Grayshift claims to have already "defeated" USB Restricted Mode, claiming it's found a "workaround" to Apple's solution.
"Grayshift has gone to great lengths to future-proof their technology and stated that they have already defeated this security feature in the beta build," the email reads.
"Additionally, the GrayKey has built in future capabilities that will begin to be leveraged as time goes on."
Exactly how the company managed to defeat the feature is unclear, though a second person responding to the original email noted Grayshift "addressed" USB Restricted Mode in a recent webinar. µ
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