Apple introduced a new feature in the latest beta versions of iOS, dubbed USB Restricted Mode, to improve the security of a locked device,
Apple is implementing a new feature dubbed USB Restricted Mode to improve the security of its device, it is going to lock down the iPhone’s data port to avoid unauthorized access, but experts observed that in this way password-cracking tools used by forensics experts will be no more effective.
The USB Restricted Mode was implemented in the latest beta versions of the iOS operating system, it disables the data connection of the iPhone’s Lightning port after a specific interval of time but it doesn’t interrupt the charging process.
Any other data transfer would require the user providing the passcode.
Initially, the USB Restricted Mode required a passcode after 7 days.
“The USB Restricted Mode was implemented in the latest beta versions of the iOS operating system, it disables the data connection of the iPhone’s Lightning port after a specific interval of time but it doesn’t interrupt the charging process.” reads a blog post published by ElcomSoft.
Last week Apple provided an update on the new feature confirming that it will require a passcode every hour for the data transfers to continue.
“Apple said it was planning an iPhone software update that would effectively disable the phone’s charging and data port — the opening where users plug in headphones, power cables and adapters — an hour after the phone is locked.” reported the New York Times.
“While a phone can still be charged, a person would first need to enter the phone’s password to transfer data to or from the device using the port.”
The new feature will have a significant impact on forensics investigation conducted using cracking tools such as Cellebrite and Grayshift’s Graykey.
Bruteforcing attacks against the six-digit passcode that protect Apple devices may be a time-consuming operation, it can take up to 22 hours to crack the device.
The USB restricted mode that is enabled by default in the iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12 betas will interfere with forensics tools.
Anyway, the new feature can be manually disabled.
Experts highlighted that the new feature will also impact the vendors of iPhone peripherals.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.