In the newest iOS update, which is 11.4, there is a new USB connection lock feature. This feature is specifically called USB Restricted Mode, and it is in beta testing right now. Essentially, if you do not unlock your iOS device at all within a week, it will lock the lightning port.
This new move could have implications in other aspects of life too, such as with law enforcement. If you have been thinking about trying iOS 11.4, then read on to learn more about the USB connection lock and what it means for you as a user.
USB Connection Lock Prevents Access to Lighting Port After 7 Days
The really cool thing about the iOS 11.4 update is the new feature called USB Restricted Mode. If you do not unlock your iOS device within a week, then the lighting port will basically be locked. That means the lightning port will have an expiration date of one week. Elcomsoft just confirmed that testing on the new USB Restricted Mode was completed.
The company also confirmed it was enabled on iOS 11.4. When Elcomsoft tested this out, it was able to figure out if you did not unlock or sync with a PC within a week, you would not be able to use the lightning port. You could still use the lightning port to charge the iOS device, but you could not access any data using the lightning port.
With the new USB connection lock feature, you have to unlock your phone via the passcode one time in the week prior in order to keep the data access going. So your lightning port would only be useful for charging the device if you did not enter the passcode within that period of time. What was not tested out though, was if it worked if you had unlocked the device using biometrics and not the passcode. It is also unclear if you connect to a trusted computer if you would still be locked out after that week time limit.
New USB Connection Lock Poses New Questions for Law Enforcement
When it comes to the new iOS 11.4 update and this new USB connection lock feature, there are some implications for law enforcement. GrayKey is one of the unlocking tools that law enforcement uses in order to get into an iOS device. With this update, you can still access the iOS device, but now there is more of a rush to get things going.
Specifically, with GrayKey, the lightning port is used to put software on the device and it can end up cracking the passcode. So while you can still use GrayKey to crack the iOS device, now you need to get the passcode within a shorter amount of time. People who have the device will only have a week from the time they get the device in their hands to unblock it.
Since GrayKey uses the USB port to connect, going more than the week without getting the passcode will prevent this tool from being useful. Instead of law enforcement having a longer time to unlock the device and get into the data, they have to be quick in order to use GrayKey. Apple said that the new USB connection lock feature will help improve security on iOS devices. This includes both the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad. In order for the locked iOS device to connect to other accessories using the lightning port, you need to use the passcode while connected or connect after it is unlocked already.
New USB Connection Lock Gives More Security to Users
While the new USB connection lock feature is not particularly good for law enforcement, it is definitely a much-needed feature for users. It will allow the iOS user to feel more secure, since no data would able to be accessed after a week of idleness. A lot of other security features were also introduced in the previous iOS 11 versions.
The features included local backup expiration dates and much more. Even when iOS 11.4 launches publicly, it is possible that USB Restricted Mode is not included. We think that it will become an official feature of iOS 11.4, since the iOS 11 updates are all revolving around more security.
Tell us in the comments what you think of the new USB Restricted Mode feature. Do you think that this will help the iOS user in terms of feeling like their data is secured? Law enforcement might be negatively impacted with this move, but sometimes that is a good thing if you are talking about illegal search and seizure of devices. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below on whether or not you think this new feature is a good idea.