iPhone again became unapproachable for hackers and special services

Written by Hassan Abbas

The GrayKey tool, which this summer was bought by intelligence agencies around the world, cannot bypass the protection of the release version of iOS 12. The authoritative foreign publication Forbes reported, citing its sources in law enforcement organizations, that GrayKey’s acclaimed tool for hacking iPhones and iPads in the past cannot circumvent the protection of the iOS 12 operating system. Due to this, Apple has strengthened the security of its mobile platform – is unknown.

Since the spring of 2018, reputable media regularly reported that GrayKey could hack the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This tool, whose alleged photo is located above, connected to Apple’s mobile gadgets via the Lightning port (connector for charging, headphones and pairing the device with a computer via cable), after which it circumvented the protection of iOS devices and downloaded all user data. In June 2018, the Motherboard edition reported, citing its sources, that GrayKey coped even with the devices turned off (the iOS security system used to work in such a way that all user files were stored in an encrypted form until the person unlocked the device after the gadget was turned on).


With the release of iOS 11.4.1, Apple has implemented the USB Restricted Mode, which blocks the transfer of data through the Lightning port if more than an hour has passed since the last screen lock. However, Grayshift, which developed GrayKey, updated the firmware of its device, which allowed it to bypass even the USB Restricted Mode protection (again, according to the media). Earlier it was reported that GrayKey successfully hacked into devices running beta versions of iOS 12. However, Apple has changed something in the release version of the updated operating system. At the moment, this tool allows you to extract information from a locked iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 only partially: GrayKey can access only some unencrypted data and meta-information (file size, folder structure and the like).

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Vladimir Katalov, director of the Russian company Elcomsoft, which specializes in information security and digital forensics (regularly discovering security holes in Apple devices), also doesn’t know how Apple has strengthened the protection of its mobile platform in iOS 12. He suggests that developers could Improve the security of the operating system kernel or limit the data transfer through the Lightning port.

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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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