Apple's newest security feature has been thwarted in less than a day

How to use USB Restricted Mode on your iPhone or iPad

Apple releases iOS 11.4.1 with USB Restricted Mode

That time allowance may be convenient, but the flip side is someone might be able to access data on the iPhone within the hour.

"What we want to see is more granular control over what can and what cannot trigger the USB Restricted Mode". Even when one plugs in a new USB accessory that has never been paired with the iPhone, the timer of the USB Restricted Mode will reset itself.

"Once the police officer seizes an iPhone, he or she would need to immediately connect that iPhone to a compatible USB accessory to prevent USB Restricted Mode lock after one hour", he said. It also doesn't work if USB Restricted Mode has already been triggered (past the one-hour mark).

What ElcomSoft note is that any USB accessory can be plugged into the iOS device within the hour safe window, and this prevents the timeout from ever being reset. "Theoretically, iOS could remember which devices were connected to the iPhone, and only allow those accessories to establish connectivity without requiring an unlock - but that's about all we can think of". The feature is aimed at rendering third-party boxes which try to brute force into a locked iPhone useless.


Most (if not all) USB accessories fit the goal - for example, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter from Apple. In future iOS releases, it may make sense for Apple to make the policies more stringent, by only prolonging the timeouts for accessories that have been previously authorised as trustworthy.

iOS 12 may be the hottest iPhone operating system you can run right now, but that's still in beta.

But with a power-transferring accessory, police - or other hackers - have a fairly straightforward means of accessing a seized iOS 11.4.1 device. These bypass the usual restrictions on entering passcodes by attacking through the Lightning port. Get patching, Cupertino fans, by checking for software updates and installing them. However, Apple had not released the details on its security page at the time of this posting, but expect them to appear sometime soon. After all, if you're listening to music with your iPhone hooked up to a USB audio interface, you don't want the music to stop after an hour, and to re-authenticate before you can continue. We'll just have to wait and see.

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