Apple's USB Restricted Mode can be fooled, security researchers say

Credit    Apple

The new USB Restricted Mode in iOS 11.4.1 simply prevents any USB accessories from connecting if the phone has not been unlocked in the last hour.

However, security firm ElcomSoft has discovered a way to disable the timer, and it's ridiculously easy - you just need to plug an accessory into the iPhone's Lightning port, and the timer is disabled.

The feature was created to shield iPhone users against passcode-cracking devices used by law enforcement, essentially immobilizing any attempts at accessing the device after it's been in locked mode for an hour.

USB Restricted Mode is created to protect against devices such as GrayKey, a hardware device that enables an attacker to extract data from an iOS device they don't have legitimate access to. Importantly, this only helps if the iPhone has still not entered USB Restricted Mode. This new mode, which is buried under your passcode settings, adds additional security to your iOS device by preventing USB accessories to connect with your iPhone or iPad if the device has been locked for more than one hour.

This chink in the USB Restricted Mode's armor can probably be closed, but it might prove annoying to users.

It is to be noted that one can't break the USB Restricted Mode once it is already engaged. The workaround requires a Lightning connector accessory, such as Apple's $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, but is expected to work with numerous other Lightning accessories, as well.

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A GrayKey box for unlocking Apple mobile devices. The toggle is off by default, and that's how you'll want it in order to use the feature. As a result, the Lightning port can be kept accessible for an hour past the point of initial seizure by plugging in a Lightning accessory. They have already issued an update of their own.

Restricted Mode is activated if the iPhone or iPad is left locked for more than hour.

Apple also today released security updates for.

We will have to wait and see how Apple responds to the situation.

The iOS 11.4.1 upgrade is small by Apple standards - coming in at around 200MB - but it represents a big headache for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other organizations that want to gain access to someone else's phone because it kills off the most common route to bypassing the device's security.

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