For those unscrupulous individuals who do not want any law enforcement agencies to peek into their iPhones, there’s good news for you. Yes, Apple has made things much harder with the release of new iOS 12. According to Forbes, the smartphone manufacturer now prevents GrayKey hardware used to hack the passcodes by law enforcement agencies from doing so on new iPhones that have iOS 12 running on them.
The former security experts at Apple and the US Intelligence contractors had set up Atlanta-based Grayshift. The GrayKey device was developed by the company to essentially brute force its way to any iPhone from Apple that was secured and locked with user passcodes.
The technology was appreciated and soon attracted the interest of law enforcement agencies from around the globe because of the fact that, in the past, Tim Cook’s company had fought against the requests of building backdoor capabilities to unlock iOS devices being investigated for certain crimes.
It goes without a doubt that the need existed that such devices should be unlocked and Grayshift took the opportunity to fill that gap and secured certain contracts with the Immigrations & Customs Enforcement and Secret Service. Previously, Apple had been barring the process to work out and it had even introduced USB Restricted Mode to not allow USB-based devices to access iPhones under particular circumstances.
Those barriers, however, did not really prevent this process from taking place. As it appears, Apple now seems to be taking a leap forward when it comes to offering protection and privacy to its customers as it now ensures that GrayKey hardware can’t have full access to iOS devices that are running latest iOS 12 or any version beyond that.
Despite the fact that it does not stop that hardware completely from accessing the iOS devices, the forensic experts say that GrayKey may just be able to perform ‘partial extraction’ on the devices that run this latest iOS from Apple. It implies that the hardware can’t retrieve any kind of sensitive and encrypted data while only unencrypted files could be accessible to it along with metadata and it might not actually be that valuable to agencies that pay to use the tool.
Considering the fact that Apple is serious about security and privacy of its customers, it’s really great news that GrayKey can’t be able to access iPhones as it could previously on the older firmware versions. The question is, however, that how long this could stay intact before Grayshift or some other business comes up with a workaround to breach the preventions put into place by Apple. Until then, you are pretty much safe and should not worry about your device’s privacy and security.