Hackers say they found a workaround for USB Restricted Mode, a new security mechanism for the iPhone introduced by Apple in the beta version of iOS 11.3 and headed to its final iOS release. USB Restricted Mode is intended to prevent law enforcement from unlocking an iPhone by turning its lightning cable port into a charge-only port if the device hadn’t been unlocked, either by passcode or biometrics, within the previous hour.
USB Restricted Mode would make it harder to crack locked iPhones and force police to rush seized devices to unlocking tools before the time frame ended. The news caused a stir among law enforcement and mobile forensics firms including Grayshift, the company behind GrayKey, a $15,000 unlocking box commonly used by police and other authorities to break into iPhones.
Grayshift has reportedly already defeated USB Restricted Mode in iOS 11.3 beta mode, according to a forensics expert in an email obtained by Motherboard. The same expert says GrayKey has “built in future capabilities that will begin to be leveraged as time goes on.” A second source said Grayshift tackled USB Restricted Mode in a webinar many weeks ago.
Law enforcement remains concerned about Apple’s update, the report notes.
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