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Incoming iOS updates will make unlocking iPhones even more difficult for hackers

By Greg S ยท 4 replies
Jun 5, 2018
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  1. As iOS 12 is being put in the spotlight at Apple's developer conference, iOS 11.4.1 beta brings an important update for security conscious individuals. USB Restricted Mode will now allow for all data communication to be cut off from the port after one hour.

    Once an iPhone enters USB Restricted Mode, iTunes and other tools will not be able to access the device in any capacity. The only way that users are able to restore access to an iPhone that has been disabled in this manner is to enter the correct passcode. Only charging the phone is possible.

    Apple seems to have grasped the importance of such a feature after learning of GrayKey, a hardware device that unlocks iPhones within a very short time span.

    If you are an avid reader, you may remember that we have mentioned USB restrictions being implemented on iOS in the past. However, there is now one major change that is important. Apple has changed the timeout period from seven days to just one hour.

    Should an iPhone with the latest security feature enabled be lost or stolen, it will be very difficult to rush the device to an unlocking tool within one hour. There is still one caveat to this though. If an iPhone is connected to a trusted computer, the one hour timer does not start until the phone is disconnected.

    New limitations in place will made it significantly more difficult for third parties to break into Apple devices, but it is still unknown how exactly exploits are being used. Lack of easy access to USB does not necessarily guarantee complete security.

    According to security company Elcomsoft, it is unknown whether the new restrictions will have any effect at all on unlocking efforts by firms such as GrayShift and Cellebrite.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,478   +3,037

    ...and while the rest of the world is turning attention to software SIM cards, to make phones more independent of the carriers.

    Apple is consistent in trying to pull the industry back. The most recent one - dumping OpenCL + OpenGL in the next macOS.

    Whatever it takes to maximize the profits, screw the industry with its standards.
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,550   +1,767

    .....I guess you missed Apple using eSIMs in some of their products? Or the predictable problems (sim card becoming locked to a carrier by a software update) that came with it?

    eSIMs should DIAF. Anything that determines carrier should be physically removable, lest a single update brick your ability to access a network until someone bothers to fix it.
  4. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 403   +466

    I can't imagine this being the case, but any idea if it will also block devices in DFU/Recovery mode?
  5. mattfrompa

    mattfrompa TS Evangelist Posts: 576   +73

    Oh you mean how Apple let carriers preinstall garbage software on their phones, and leave them unpatched/running like ****? Pulling the industry back my ***. Remind yourself of what smartphone UIs looked like before the iPhone. Or how Apple only supports their phones for 3 years instead of 5. Yet again that's Google. I have had 3 different android phones, all held back by software, with stupid problems that didn't need to happen.

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