Apple's newest security feature has been thwarted in less than a day

Apple's newest security feature has been thwarted in less than a day

Apple's newest security feature has been thwarted in less than a day

This seems like a flawless solution, but security researchers from ElcomSoft have pointed out a significant shortcoming. Once the feature is enabled, an iPhone becomes inaccessible to any third-party software over USB if its screen is locked for one hour. There is detailed release note only for the iOS update, which mentions the USB Restricted Mode. Importantly, this only helps if the iPhone has still not entered USB Restricted Mode.

While iOS 11.4.1 has just arrived with a USB Accessories toggle to restrict access to passcode cracking tools, researchers now claim that they have discovered a bug in the latest development.

The feature, which you'll find in iOS 11.4.1, locks down the data connection over the Lightning port one hour after the last time your iOS device is unlocked.

What ElcomSoft note is that any USB accessory can be plugged into the iOS device within the hour safe window, and this prevents the timeout from ever being reset. The workaround requires a Lightning connector accessory, such as Apple's $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, but is expected to work with numerous other Lightning accessories, as well. "Prior to iOS 11.4.1, isolating the iPhone inside a Faraday bag and connecting it to a battery pack would be enough to safely transport it to the lab", Afonin concludes. You might also see an alert asking you to unlock your device to use accessories.

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Based on Apple's previous update cycles, it is possible that these are the last updates for these operating systems before iOS 12 and its cousins arrive later this year. The Grayshift boxes plug into the Lightning port and remove prolonged delays between PIN code attempts, allowing law enforcement (or criminals) to brute-force an unlock. The issue occurs regardless of if users have recently replaced their device's battery - some iPhone owners were told that they should get their battery replaced even after recently getting a replacement.

Restricted Mode is activated if the iPhone or iPad is left locked for more than hour.

But with a power-transferring accessory, police - or other hackers - have a fairly straightforward means of accessing a seized iOS 11.4.1 device.

Apple hasn't commented yet, but we can assume that a patch will be landing soon.

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