In all of our coverage of the methods of unlocking iOS devices, which have seemed to multiply every day (and which make the FBI and government agencies around the world happy), one question hung in our heads: we wouldn't have it like Apple act to disable the functionality of these methods? Well, we have no way of determining what the real effectiveness of this will be, but now we know that Ma is, yes, acting to curb the action of GrayKey and his minions.
THE Elcomsoft published an article today detailing some of the discoveries that his security team made by wallowing in the iOS 11.4 beta code and, among them, one draws attention: the new version of the system comes with the so-called USB Restricted Mode (USB Restricted Mode), a feature that blocks connections through the Lightning port after a week of inactivity, requiring the user's access password before starting any communication protocol.
It is still unclear whether this seven-day window refers to unlocking the device in any way (password, Touch ID, Face ID, etc.), to unlocking exclusively by password or connection to a trusted computer; The fact that Elcomsoft was able to reproduce the behavior on an iPhone that was untouched for a week after this period, the Lightning port was only for charging, requiring the user's password for any type of connection.
The feature had already appeared briefly in one of the betas of iOS 11.3, but just as the cones of the late AirPort Express were removed in the final version of the system. Now, it looks like the thing is really going to go into gear, which is salutary considering that GrayKey is multiplying like rabbits among police forces, agencies and who knows what else around the world.
With the introduction of the feature, tools like GrayKey will find a new and formidable obstacle in the task of unlocking iPhones, iPads and iPods touch around the world, since any communication protocol will be totally blocked if the password is not informed. It is not known, of course, whether Grayshift, Cellebrite and other companies in the industry have a card up their sleeve regarding the resource and may even cross that barrier.
Let's see how this cat and mouse dispute unfolds