Apple steps up encrytion to thwart police cracking of iPhones

Image    Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

Image Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

The feature disables data transfer through the Lightning port one hour after a phone was last locked, preventing popular third-party hacking tools used by law enforcement from accessing the device. While the 2017 iPhones also supported fast charging, Apple continued bundling its 5W USB-A charger with the handsets.

"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", Apple said in a prepared statement.

The tech company said the change is aimed at blocking hackers, not at hindering law enforcement agencies from doing their jobs, Reuters reported.

The update could reignite tensions between Apple and the U.S. government, which wants technology companies to include backdoors - official ways to get around encryption and other security measures - on their devices.

Apple said it was working a fix to mitigate the possibility of accessing data from GrayKey or similar tools. Given that the devices cost between $15,000 and $30,000, that could work out much more costly for law enforcement.

There's news from China, more in the shape of a rumor that Apple may include the USB- C type jack to its smartphones to be released in 2019.

With the roll-out of iOS 11.4, we saw Apple plug up a security loophole in the iPhone Lightning port, but the Cupertino firm has now announced that iOS 12 will take this fix to the extreme.

Apple has been at the center of such debates since it declined Federal Bureau of Investigation requests to unlock an iPhone 5C used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shooting in 2015 that left 14 people dead.

That's a unusual thing to say, because Apple would actually be late to the party if it ends up switching to USB-C in 2019.

A new version of iOS will block a controversial loophole that law enforcement agencies have leveraged in order to crack into locked iPhones. In Grayshift's case, the company has been offering a box-like device called GrayKey that can hook up to an iPhone and hack it within a few hours to several days.

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