3 days ago, we reported that some police forces in the UK are purchasing the iPhone hacking device GrayKey. At that time, Apple was unable to stop this device from hacking its iPhones. However, Apple finally blocked the iPhone hacking tool on its iOS 12 devices. Continue reading for the full story.
Apple Blocked the iPhone Hacking GrayKey – The Full Story
Yesterday, Forbes reported on Apple’s latest security defenses: blocking out the iPhone hacking tool GrayKey. This is great news for the tech giant, as they were previously unable to stop this tool from accessing all of the data on a targeted phone.
According to Forbes, “multiple sources familiar with GrayKey tech [say that] the device can no longer break the passcode of any iPhone running iOS 12 or above.” This is great news for iPhone users everywhere, as there are many rumors that GrayShift, the company that makes GrayKey, works with private customers as well as the public security sector.
It is assumed that GrayKey used an advanced form of brute force attacks to crack into a locked iPhone. Apple has tried to stop similar attacks before to no avail. This time, it seems like they finally managed to get their defenses right.
Apple couldn’t have picked a better timing to block out GrayKey either. Grayshift finally started getting international recognition across the national security sector as one of the few providers to offer a tool that breaks into iPhones. Now, all their tools can do is a partial extraction, which only brings up unencrypted files and some metadata.
No one really knows how Apple managed to block out the iPhone hacking tool. In fact, Elcomsoft’s chief of forensic tech even stated that “it could be everything from better kernel protection to stronger configuration-profile installation restrictions.”
Blocking the iPhone Hacking Tool – What Apple Might have Done
Some security researchers are speculating that one of Apple’s latest security features might be the reason for GrayKey’s block.
Apple released its USB Restricted Mode update in September. While there have been reports that GrayKey was able to bypass this feature, nothing else seems to fit the bill for how Apple managed to block the iPhone hacking device.
The feature turns an iPhone’s cable port into a “charge-only” port if the phone hasn’t been unlocked with its passcode for an hour. This feature should, essentially, render all phone forensic tools useless. Truthfully, no one really knows how Apple fixed this hacking problem as the company has yet to comment on this news.
How to Implement Apple’s USB Restricted Mode
As I mentioned above, we don’t know if this feature was what blocked out GrayKey. However, iPhone users should still make sure that the feature is turned on on their phones. Here’s how to turn on the USB Restricted Mode on iOS 12 iPhones:
- Go to your iPhone’s Settings.
- Click on FaceID and Passcode.
- Scroll to the bottom of the screen and toggle off USB Accessories.
- Make sure that the Erase Data field is toggled on.
Apple Blocks iPhone Hacking Tool – Final Thoughts
Personally, I think it’s a good thing that Apple didn’t publicize how it blocked out GrayKey. For all intents and purposes, this might help keep Grayshift from updating its hacking device. For now, it’s better to know that the tech giant has its security defenses in check than to risk having to face this problem yet again.