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

If you go to Settings and check under Face ID & Passcode, you'll see a new toggle for USB Accessories.

The feature, which you'll find in iOS 11.4.1, locks down the data connection over the Lightning port one hour after the last time your iOS device is unlocked. Interestingly, as per the researchers, authorities and private companies don't need any specific USB accessory to reset the counter.

Apple released iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2 today with minor bug fixes for its iPhones, iPads, HomePods, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches, but there was one surprise in the software: USB Restricted Mode, a feature created to block iPhone-cracking USB devices used by law enforcement agencies, has finally arrived.

What USB Restricted Mode does is to block data communications over the Lightning port an hour after the iPhone or iPad was last unlocked. It also doesn't work if USB Restricted Mode has already been triggered (past the one-hour mark). All you need is to plug a USB accessory (even if it hasn't been paired with the iPhone before) into the Lightning port to bypass this security feature.

Afonin's method works by extending the one-hour countdown of Apple's USB Restricted Mode.

In iOS 11.4.1, and also in the current iOS 12 beta, if the Lightning port isn't used for an hour, it is deactivated. "In other words, we have found no obvious way to break USB Restricted Mode once it is already engaged". Prior to iOS 11.4.1, isolating the iPhone inside a Faraday bag and connecting it to a battery pack would be enough to safely transport it to the lab.

iOS 11.4.1 (and iOS 12) include new line of defence against a type of security hack aimed at brute-forcing access to iPhones and iPads.

Apple hasn't confirmed the once-every-ten-minute limits, but if true, that's a really big problem for companies like Grayshift ... and a really good thing for customers who just want their devices to be as secure as possible.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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