Apple iOS 12 USB Restricted Mode to foil thieves, law enforcement
A rumored security feature, USB Restricted Mode, is making its premiere in Apple's iOS 12 and will protect users from brute-force passcode attacks by thieves and law enforcement alike.
A security feature that had popped up in beta versions of Apple's iOS software appears to be coming in earnest as part of iOS 12, and it will protect devices against anyone trying to unlock them via USB.
USB Restricted Mode
Apple didn't mention USB Restricted Mode during the keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, but developers saw it in the iOS 12 preview, which was released that same day. The setting is on by default and covers any type of security on an iOS device -- Touch ID, Face ID
Experts noted USB Restricted Mode will protect users' data if a device is stolen, but it will also deny law enforcement from using unlocking services from companies like GrayKey and Cellebrite -- the latter of which was rumored to have helped the FBI unlock the San Bernardino, Calif., shooter's iPhone.
Earlier tests of USB Restricted Mode had allowed for a one-week time limit, spurring GrayKey to reportedly alert customers of this feature when it surfaced in the iOS 11.3 beta, according to internal email messages obtained by Motherboard. A one-hour time limit could effectively make it impossible for customers to get the device to a company like GrayKey in time to gain brute-force access.
Rusty Carter, vice president of product management at Arxan, based in San Francisco, said USB Restricted Mode "is really about increasing the security of the device.
Rusty Cartervice president of product management at Arxan
John Callahan, CTO of Veridium, based in Quincy, Mass., said, as a developer, his initial reaction to USB Restricted Mode was, "Great, now I'll have to unlock the phone every time I go to debug a mobile app with Xcode." But he later realized it could have protected a lot of stolen devices if it had been implemented in an earlier version of iOS.
"USB Restricted Mode in iOS 12 a big win for users, because we are keeping more personally identifiable information on our mobile devices, including healthcare, identification