Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs". "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", said the company in a statement.

Apple is changing settings in iOS that will help prevent devices used by law enforcement and hackers from unlocking iPhone models.

The changes to the default settings of the iPhone are meant to stop unauthorised access to the phones via the USB port.

Forensic companies that once employed machines to break through security provisions will now have only an hour to run code on the devices.

Apple said it was working a fix to mitigate the possibility of accessing data from GrayKey or similar tools.

While the feature is now optional and can be turned on or off via Settings in iOS 11.4, it will be made permanent in an upcoming release of iOS 12, which will likely make the feature near-ubiquitous in the coming months.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have bypassed Apple by paying companies that specialize in extracting data from locked iPhones, such as Grayshift and Cellebrite.

Back in 2016, the agency famously took Apple to court over a locked iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooter. Those vendors claim that Apple's move to USB-C will cause other companies to shift as well, much as the adoption of USB-C in Apple's MacBook line has led to PCs from other manufacturers supporting the interface.

Then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress that without compelling Apple to write new software to facilitate the digital break-in, there would be no way to learn if the shooter's device contained evidence of a conspiracy.

Apple recently introduced Type-C USB into their Macbooks, so this could be the first step to Apple fully removing all their proprietary connectors.

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