Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Tech | By

Apple Closing iPhone Security Loophole Exploited By Law Enforcement

Apple Closing iPhone Security Loophole Exploited By Law Enforcement

However, there will be no change to the port in the iPhones launched later this year. With USB Restricted Mode enabled, users can have their iPhone's Lightning port locked one hour after they lock their phones. Ironically, the big victor of this change will be companies like Cellebrite and GrayShift that make the cracking machines. Given that the devices cost between $15,000 and $30,000, that could work out much more costly for law enforcement.

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).

Apple Inc. announced a change to its iPhone default settings Wednesday that's meant to further secure user information from unauthorized access. Even some of the methods most prized by intelligence agencies have been leaked on the internet.

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", Apple told Reuters. Not just police, but identity thieves could use the Lightning port to access data.

The feature previously appeared in the iOS 11.3 beta, making its way into the iOS 12 beta and now the company has confirmed that the security patch will make it into a final iOS release.

Apple said that after it learned of the techniques, it reviewed the iPhone operating system code and improved security. It also made a decision to simply alter the setting, a cruder way of preventing most of the potential access by unfriendly parties. While the 2017 iPhones also supported fast charging, Apple continued bundling its 5W USB-A charger with the handsets.

Apple's privacy practices have often put the company at odds with police and other government investigators.

If you've been anxiously waiting for Apple to bring USB-C to its smartphones in some form, it looks like you'll have to replenish your patience once more.

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