Apple to make change to iOS that will make cracking open an iPhone a race against the clock

Apple is changing settings in iOS that will help prevent devices used by law enforcement and hackers from unlocking iPhone models. New products from companies like Cellebrite and GrayShift use a USB connection through Apple"s proprietary Lightning port in order to bypass limits on passcode attempts that Apple built into the operating system. These limits were designed to prevent law enforcement and hackers from cracking open a locked iPhone by continually guessing passcodes until they stumble on the right one.

With the new machines able to bypass passcode attempt limits, Apple had to turn to a new strategy, and realized that their biggest vulnerability was the Lightning port. Apple has told Reuters that it plans on changing the default setting in iOS so that the USB port"s ability to communicate with other devices will stop if the phone has not been unlocked within the past hour.

"We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data. 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

According to security researchers, forcing law enforcement or hackers to get to a targeted iPhone within an hour should reduce access to these units by 90%. Ironically, the big winner of this change will be companies like Cellebrite and GrayShift that make the cracking machines. That"s because law enforcement authorities will now have to buy many more units in order to have one within one hour of an iPhone seized as evidence.

source: Reuters