iOS 11.4.1 Improves Protection Against Hacking via Lightning

iPhone USB
Written by Hassan Abbas

The restriction on reading data is activated one hour after the last lock of the screen of the iOS device. But you can make it in time.

Apple released a minor update to iOS 11.4.1. The latest version of the operating system features traditional bug fixes, as well as the new USB Restricted Mode, which is designed to prevent unauthorized access to iPhone or iPad content by using third-party hacking devices connected via the Lightning connector.

iPhone USB

iPhone USB

USB Restricted Mode limits the connection to data via USB accessories if more than one hour has elapsed since the last time the iOS device was locked. This means that if someone connects an iPhone or iPad to an espionage gadget (for example, US police who prefer to use GrayKey), then it is almost impossible to circumvent password protection and gain access to user information. The function is located in the “Settings” → “Touch ID and password-code” (or “Face ID and password-code”) → “Access with screen lock” → “USB accessories”. By default, the switch is disabled.

It is noteworthy, but the Russian company ElcomSoft, specializing in information security and digital forensics, has already discovered a loophole to bypass the protection of iOS 11.4.1. According to Oleg Afonin, to access the data, it is necessary to connect the iOS device to a compatible USB accessory, regardless of its functionality until the moment of blocking Lightning, after which iOS will reset the function timer.

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Nevertheless, ElcomSoft wants to personally verify this method, therefore plans to test most of the current USB-accessories.
“We found that iOS will reset the USB Restricted Mode when connected to any USB accessory. This means that as soon as the policeman takes possession of the iPhone [the culprit], he must immediately connect it to a compatible USB accessory to prevent the connector from being blocked, “said Afonin.

Most likely, Apple will improve the protection of USB Restricted Mode in the upcoming update of iOS 12.

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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