Jump to content

Apple closes iPhone loophole used to gather intelligence


Recommended Posts

Digital forensics hindered by anti-hacker update.


Apple closes iPhone loophole used to gather intelligence

The task of seizing phones to extract data for investigations could be made more difficult - or even impossible - due to an iPhone security update.

Apple says it will change iPhone settings to block a method used by police and intelligence agencies to break into devices.

The tech giant explained the handsets will now be programmed to cut off communication through the charging port when a phone has not been unlocked for more than an hour to provide better protection to its customers.

At least 28 forces in the UK are using Cellebrite’s Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), which can quickly crack through mobile phone passcodes – other than iPhones - to obtain everything from text messages to GPS data in minutes, simply by connecting them to a laptop-sized device.

The company also provides an “advanced unlocking service” to crack the complex security of iPhones and iPads.

However, once Apple’s toughened security measures come into force, it will mean after the hour passes, these techniques could no longer work.

In a statement, Apple said: "We're constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data.

“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs."

Apple says it began working on the issue before learning such technology was being used by police.

In 2016, the company clashed with the FBI in a high profile case over encryption and data privacy after it refused to help it access the iPhone of a mass murderer.

A federal judge asked Apple to help the FBI unlock the device belonging to Syed Farook, who was responsible for the shootings in San Bernardino which left 14 people dead. Despite this, the FBI still managed to hack into his phone by other means.

A spokesman from Cellebrite said it would not be commenting on the matter.

Charity Privacy International, which labelled the technology as a “draconian stop and search tool,” is continuing to campaign for oversight on the use of Cellebrite amid concerns it cannot filter what needs to be obtained, thus extracting the entire contents of the phone.

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...