Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Security researchers find workaround for iOS 11.4’s USB Restricted Mode

Security researchers find workaround for iOS 11.4’s USB Restricted Mode

It seems, however, that pressing matters may have forced Apple to nearly silently roll out its USB Restricted Mode feature in the new iOS 11.4.1 update.

The feature, introduced in iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12 beta 2, is supposed to make the data on your iPhone safe even if someone can physically access it.

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.

But the trick is to prevent USB Restricted Mode from engaging itself.

Once you're done with that, open up Settings, and head to Touch ID & Passcode (or if you're on an iPhone X, you'll need Face ID & Passcode). This means that once your iPhone or iPad has been locked for over an hour straight, iOS will no longer allow USB accessories to connect to the device - shutting out cracking tools like GrayKey as a result.

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Elcomsoft explained that this issue with the USB Restricted Mode feature arises from the fact that Apple doesn't enforce cryptographic authentication for iPhone accessories, except for its own.

It's worth noting that nobody has been able to hack USB Restricted Mode yet, once it's actually been an hour since you unlocked the phone. The $9 Lightning-to-audio-jack adapter doesn't work, but Apple's Lightning-to-USB-3.0 adapter does. Once complete, you will be notified and will have the ability to set the device up as an entirely new device or restore it from a compatible iTunes or iCloud backup.

A really interesting tidbit from the ElcomSoft report is that since iOS 11.4, Grayshift's boxes are already weakened significantly.

Apple's iPhones are extremely secure once you've used TouchID or FaceID and a passcode to lock them down, but there was a loophole with specialized USB tools plugging into the lightning port.

Of course, this only works if the device hadn't entered in USB Restricted Mode by the time the police obtained it.

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This seems like an oversight on Apple's part, and it's possible the company will fix this in a future update.

There should be no reason why iOS 11.4.1 has caused issues on your device.

Apple also today released security updates for.

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

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