Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

Apple to undercut popular law-enforcement tool for cracking iPhones

So, the third-party hacking tools, which the law enforcement authorities use, will not be able to gain access to the device.

Earlier this month, we reported that iOS 12 introduces a new USB Restricted Mode that makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to thwart iPhone security. Data access through the Lightning port on a device running iOS 12 is cut off if it hasn't been unlocked within the last hour. "In order to transfer data to or from the iPhone using the port, a person would first need to enter the phone's password". Grayshift, founded by a former Apple engineer, even markets a $15,000 device created to help police exploit the security hole in the iPhone's current software. That port is how machines made by forensic companies GrayShift, Cellebrite and others connect and get around the security provisions that limit how many password guesses can be made before the device freezes them out or erases data.

News of Apple's planned software update has begun spreading through security blogs and law enforcement circles - and many in investigatory agencies are infuriated.

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", Apple told Reuters.

Apple said it would not break its customer's trust and argued that the device's encryption could not be defeated - even by the company. Will it sour the relationship between Apple and the law enforcement in the future?

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During Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, he criticised Apple for denying Federal Bureau of Investigation access to the killer's locked iPhone.

The update could reignite tensions between Apple and the United States government, which wants technology companies to include backdoors - official ways to get around encryption and other security measures - on their devices.

Apple was among the leaders of this movement, portraying its devices as more secure than those of rivals and presenting its business model - which relied on pricey products, not the personal data of its users, for profit - as more attuned to the privacy expectations of its customers.

Erlin, for his part, said that law enforcement in the USA will certainly be impacted by this most recent move by Apple. But the company has been a target of some in law enforcement for rejecting efforts to allow easy access to iPhones. Law enforcement was late to the game, but its arrival shouldn't mean companies forgo protecting their customers to avoid inconveniencing the government.

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