Apple's USB-blocking update is already counter-blocked

How to use USB Restricted Mode on your iPhone or iPad

Yesterday Apple released iOS 11.4.1, which is a small release that brings the new iOS 12 security feature back to iOS 11 users.

But nearly immediately after this feature made it out to the public, a cybersecurity firm found a loophole (ElcomSoft via The Verge) that resets the counter that determines whether it's been an hour since you've locked the phone.

That time allowance may be convenient, but the flip side is someone might be able to access data on the iPhone within the hour.

ElcomSoft notes that Apple could update a future version of iOS to "remember which devices were connected to the iPhone, and only allow those accessories to establish connectivity without requiring an unlock", but doesn't see other practical ways to enhance the USB Restricted Mode, given the design of existing Lightning accessories. Apple has added protections against the USB devices being used by law enforcement and private companies that connect over Lightning to crack an iPhone's passcode and evade Apple's usual encryption safeguards. Not all accessories work but, for their tests, they used the $39 Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter dongle.

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iOS 11.4.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.

However, if you aren't actually happy with the release, and you want to go back to an earlier version of iOS, then be aware that Apple is now only signing iOS 11.4, which means that you will only be able to downgrade to iOS 11.4. This unassuming little box can inject code into a locked iPhone that churns for a few hours or days before displaying the device's passcode. There are people who'd prefer unlocking their phones every time someone connects an accessory to the Lightning port instead of being subjected to the flawed restrictions. Get patching, Cupertino fans, by checking for software updates and installing them.

But with a power-transferring accessory, police - or other hackers - have a fairly straightforward means of accessing a seized iOS 11.4.1 device. Users can also manually enable USB Restricted Mode by triggering the SOS mode-holding an iPhone's sleep/wake button and either volume button.

At first we thought we would have to wait until iOS 12 this fall to see this feature, but here it is.

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