Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
IT&Software | By Alfonso Woods

Apple closing tech loophole police use to crack iPhones

Apple closing tech loophole police use to crack iPhones

It's rare to see a micro USB charging port on an Android flagship these days, though the connector is still used on some budget and mid-range handsets. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", the company said in a statement.

It comes as a big annoyance to many users, but Apple remains the technological trendsetter, and despite usually not being first, a technology never really arrives until Apple adopts it.

At least, that's what is being reported as Apple's plan for the iPhone models set to be released in 2019.

According to supply chain sources, Apple is now looking into the new connector for its future iPhones but not for this year. But the company has been a target of some in law enforcement for rejecting efforts to allow easy access to iPhones. The data on the device is encrypted and can not be pulled off without cooperation from Apple or the phone's owner - or possibly by using a corpse's fingerprint. In 2016, the company refused a demand from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it create software to circumvent encryption technology on an iPhone that had belonged to a suspect in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

That's a unusual thing to say, because Apple would actually be late to the party if it ends up switching to USB-C in 2019. A brewing legal showdown was defused after the Federal Bureau of Investigation hired professional hackers to crack into the device.

In recent months, a law enforcement tool called GrayKey has become publicly known as the gold standard for law enforcement agencies trying to break into encrypted iPhones.

That solution should thwart iPhone cracking devices like those made by GrayShift and Cellebrite. Apple says the change will protect customers in countries where law enforcement can seize phones with few legal restriction. The update fixes a vulnerability that could be exploited by bad actors and police alike, the company said.

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