IOS 11.4 beta introduces USB Restricted Mode

Maricris Jose
            		      1:10 PM

We recently told you about the GrayKey device, which unlocks Apple iPhone models and can even bypass encryption. This testing showcased that data transfers are blocked after seven days without unlocking a device. It notes that this feature was originally introduced in early iOS 11.3 betas, but was later removed in the final release.

Apple is planning to roll out a new iOS update in the coming days or weeks and with it comes the new "USB Restricted Mode". The researchers point out that "law enforcement will have at most 7 days from the time the device was last unlocked to perform the extraction using any known forensic techniques". This should, ideally, prevent data stored on the device from being harvested when plugged into a computer via a USB-to-Lightning cable. The same scenario can't be played out again since the iPhone in question would have just shut down the Lightning port after 7 days.

Currently, anyone who's obtained physical access to an iPhone has to have a passcode or fingerprint authentication to unlock it and access data like contact lists, messages or photos. The new security feature is now expected to be made available to everyone through the iOS 11.4 update. During this period, we have not tried to unlock the device with Touch ID or connect it to a paired USB device.

When the iPhone is connected to the computer, the two devices communicate, finding out whether they can send information to each other.

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It's not clear if USB Restricted Mode is enabled by default or requires iPhone owners to enable it manually.

It will take some time for a compromise between device manufacturers and law enforcement that will both protect user privacy and give investigators access to data they require for their investigations.

According to Malwarebytes, GrayKey works on nearly any iPhone model and any devices running iOS 11. There's also a good chance you'll be able to try many of these changes in the near future.

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