Apple is making it harder for law enforcement agencies to access iPhones

Alfred Osborne
June 17, 2018

The security hole has to do with the Lightning port, which can offer USB access to an Apple product.

A cynic might say that if the police wanted Apple to supply them with all the evidence they could eat, they should just sign a nationwide supply contract which gives an Apple to every cop. Companies like Cellebrite that have based their business on it are likely to already have other tools stockpiled, he said. Any security flaw can be exploited by a bad actor as well.

Michael Sachs, an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, said his office uses workarounds-he declined to specify which-to access locked iPhones several times a week. The company went to court in 2016 over its refusal to break into the iPhone of a gunman who, along with his wife, killed 14 people and injured 22 others in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015.

When it comes to the new USB security measure, meanwhile, Apple said in a statement to Reuters that the move is directed toward hackers and bad actors instead of law enforcement.

Apple said that after it learned of the techniques, it reviewed the iPhone operating system code and improved security.

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Apple's upgraded charging circuitry will allegedly come from Power Integrations, which it intends to use as its sole supplier of charging components. This GrayKey iPhone unlocking box was also speculated to have been secretly supported by Apple itself to avoid Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOD stalking it and threatening it with regulations that could spell the end for end to end encryption.

The governments and private parties also requested information on 3,358 Apple accounts and data was provided in 82 per cent of cases. At least two firms, Cellebrite and Grayshift, have been selling special unlocking tools to law enforcement.

Attempting to keep cryptography-cracking technology in the bottle is impossible, Schneier said, which makes it all the more important that tech providers such as Apple do what they can to secure their devices.

Apple is planning to add USB-C "support" to its 2019 iPhones and future iPads, according to the latest iteration of a rumor floated annually by the company's Asian supply chain. The FBI ultimately found a contractor that broke into the phone without Apple's cooperation. "This is a never ending battle: I protect, you find a way in". News of Apple's planned software update has begun spreading through security blogs and law enforcement circles - and many in investigatory agencies are infuriated. Most users will not have any reason to disable this feature.

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