Apple’s USB Restricted Mode has been making waves ever since it got released as part of iOS 11.4.1 a couple of days ago. However, a new report is here to burst the iPhone maker’s bubble by pointing out a major flaw with the security measure.
USB Restricted Mode stops the Lightning port from transferring data after an hour has passed since the iPhone was unlocked. The handset can only get charged at this point. The idea behind this is to prevent cops and thieves from using machines like GrayKey to gain access to iPhones.
How to Dupe USB Restricted Mode
However, researchers at ElcomSoft have found that there’s an easy way to delay USB Restricted Mode from kicking in. All one would have to do is insert any Lightning accessory such as Apple’s own $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera adapter. This apparently resets the mechanism’s countdown timer so the police or hackers have more time to get cracking.
The loophole works with all official Lightning accessories and the security firm is in the process of figuring out if unofficial ones work as well. The hack is doable even if the accessory has never been used with the iPhone before.
One key aspect to remember is that the flaw works only if it’s performed before USB Restricted Mode activates. Once the tool is in place, there’s nothing more to be done. ElcomSoft thus recommends immediately connecting the iPhone to a compatible USB accessory and then plugging in an external powerbank to prevent battery drain.
It’s not clear if Apple is aware of this issue and if it has any intention of fixing the problem. It’s possible this is a simple oversight. Maybe future versions of iOS 11 or iOS 12 will correct the misstep.