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

Open Settings tap Face ID & Passcode

Tap Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode depending on your device

That's what Oleg Afonin, a researcher at cybersecurity firm ElcomSoft, looked to take advantage of.

In my case checking the (beta) battery health feature in the iPhone settings threw no light on the abnormal performance, with maximum capacity reported as a (healthy sounding) 91%, as well a claim that "normal" peak performance was supported. Significant but not listed: USB Restricted Mode, a change originally included in the iOS 12 beta that makes it more hard for anyone, including authorities, to break into the iPhone through the Lightning port.

The latest update to iOS introduces a new USB Restricted Mode which is supposed to prevent the Lightning port of an iPhone or iPad being used to transfer data an hour after the device is locked.

If however someone does get to a phone within that hour period, they can shove in a USB accessory and prevent the smartphone from going into restricted mode until they have a chance to attach a cracking box later on.

Making sure its research is as inclusive and objective as possible, ElcomSoft says it plans to test as many USB adapters as possible and found that one, the Apple Lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter ($9), does not work to defeat USB restrictions. If you want finalized software, iOS 11.4.1 is the one you need, which Apple made available earlier this week.

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As a concession to user convenience, the restrictions on the Lightning port only comes into effect if the Lightning port is not now being used, and the device has not been unlocked for more than a hour. When you connect the iPhone to a computer, the two devices exchange cryptographic keys and establish trust. This is the fifteenth update since iOS 11 released last September.

It seems as though every new iOS updates brings various complaints from users ranging from performance setbacks to battery life issues, and iOS 11.4 is no exception. Users on iOS 11.3.1 or lower are advised to stay where they are.

Apple also today released security updates for.

Of course, the exploit requires that the attacker gain physical access to the phone within one hour of the last time it was unlocked, but according to Afonin, this is not much of a problem.

Apple hasn't commented yet, but we can assume that a patch will be landing soon.

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