Apple released version 11.4.1 of its iOS operating system, as well as the release of WatchOS 4.3.2 and TVOS 11.4.1 with simple fixes for iPhone, iPad, HomePod, Apple TV, But the biggest surprise is that the new version has a new important security feature, the USB Restrict Mode. This feature is designed to prevent intrusion of phones and other devices by law enforcement agencies, increase protection of Apple products against devices used by law enforcement agencies and private companies that connect the device via the Lightning port to bypass the iPhone’s passcode and evade Apple’s usual encryption safeguards. The USB restriction mode was first noted by ElcomSoft security researchers in May under the beta version of iOS 11.4.
The feature disables the Lightning port, which is responsible for charging the device and transferring data within one hour of the device’s lock. Although phones can still be charged through this port, the device owner must sign in using a password, fingerprint, or face wipe to transfer data, With the feature turned on, it prevents USB extensions from connecting to an iPhone or iPad tablet when it is locked for more than an hour.
IOS 11.4.1 users have the ability to turn the feature on or off through the Touch ID, Passcode, Face ID, and Passcode menu settings. When you go to Settings and search within the Face ID or Touch ID and Passcode menu, you’ll see a new option for USB accessories Content via USB, which is turned off by default.
This means that once you lock your iPhone or iPad computer for more than an hour, the iOS operating system will no longer allow USB devices to connect to the device, closing access devices such as GrayKey to decrypt the phones. The time limit in case you want to continue working and using the extensions after the device has been locked for a period of time.
Apple’s decision to apply the USB restriction mode to enhance the privacy of the user, but may put the company again in conflict with law enforcement authorities and authorities wishing to access information stored on confiscated iPhone devices, where law enforcement agencies had previously been able to access To the data on phones and get them by connecting them to devices that use special software, bypassing security features for iPhone.
“We are constantly working to strengthen the security protection of each Apple product to help customers defend themselves against hackers, thieves and their personal data interventions,” Apple said in a statement on the feature. “We are respectful of law enforcement agencies, and we do not comply with our steps. And our security corrections to thwart their efforts to carry out their functions, “the company confirmed that it made the changes taking into account the interest of consumers mainly.
Third-party security companies, including Grayshift and Cellebrite, have developed custom tools to allow police to penetrate suspicious devices. These devices have been sold at relatively high prices, and it is not clear whether these tools will be updated to circumvent the USB restriction mode, Or whether other iOS security vulnerabilities will continue to enable hardware penetration.
Apple has a long history with law enforcement agencies. In 2016, the company publicly clashed with the FBI after it was accused of failing to help the agency with the decryption of a telephone belonging to a criminal. Critics argued that it was a stumbling block to justice, Apple said that providing a rear door on the iPhone would mean weakening the security of every other iPhone device, prompting the FBI to hire another company after paying for physical costs to decrypt the phone and access information inside.