Hi-Tech

Apple Enables USB Restricted Mode by Default in iOS 11.4.1

Apple Enables USB Restricted Mode by Default in iOS 11.4.1

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.

Apple has released tvOS 11.4.1 for the Apple TV. Originally, Apple planned to have the restricted mode kick in after a week but last month changed its mind to reduce the time limit to an hour.

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. Another user having similar issues claims that the iPhone was updated to iOS 11.4, charged to 100%, rebooted and left in standby for four hours.

That data port is the main way the Feds and cops break into locked phones right now, with companies like Cellebrite and Grayshift selling boxes that will bypass the phone's security and provide access to its innards. The toggle is off by default, which means Restricted Mode is enabled and you'll need to unlock the device via passcode or Touch ID before USB data connection can work again.




If you think back to the tragic San Bernardino shooting incident of 2015, you might recall that Apple refused to build a software backdoor for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access one of the killers' phones, fearing that doing so would set a unsafe legal precedent. Notable in the new build is USB Restrictive Mode.

Of course, this only works if the device hadn't entered in USB Restricted Mode by the time the police obtained it. The battery indicator reportedly dropped to 40% over that time. Law enforcement could also tactically observe a suspect, waiting for them to unlock their phone at least once, before apprehending them.

Apple curiously didn't include the security in the release notes, probably to not alert "interested parties".

These fixes address various bugs, some of which can be exploited by webpages to execute malicious code on vulnerable devices. It can be installed over iTunes or OTA via Software Update feature.


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