Apple's USB-blocking update is already counter-blocked

Apple's USB-blocking update is already counter-blocked

iOS 11.4.1 users have the ability to flip the feature on or off under the Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode settings menu, under USB Accessories.

The accompanying explanation gives no indication of its real goal: "Unlock iPhone to allow USB accessories to connect when it has been more than hour since your iPhone was locked", it says underneath a sliding bar. This countdown can be reset by simply plugging in Apple's Lightning to USB 3.0 adaptor. Apple released iOS 11.4.1 today along with corresponding updates to macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

With the lock in place, data cannot be transferred to or from the Lightning port; it can only be used for device charging.

Of course, this only works if the device hadn't entered in USB Restricted Mode by the time the police obtained it. After all, if you're listening to music with your iPhone hooked up to a USB audio interface, you don't want the music to stop after an hour, and to re-authenticate before you can continue. The resetting of the built-in feature works even with an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired with the device before. There is detailed release note only for the iOS update, which mentions the USB Restricted Mode.


The research team isn't sure if third-party adaptors have a similar effect, but this same method can't be achieved with Apple's Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor. If you want finalized software, iOS 11.4.1 is the one you need, which Apple made available earlier this week.

Greyshift claimed it had already worked around that restriction but it might not have to, at least not for a while.

iOS 11.4.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad. Elcomsoft is a company that makes forensic tools for governments and law enforcement, so it is in the company's interest to break this new lock. The device can then be accessed once again through USB.

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