Apple’s USB Restriction Mode
Apple has released iOS 11.4.1, a small update containing an important new security feature: USB Restriction Mode. These new settings protect against USB devices that connect to break an iPhone’s security and encryption safeguards.
What is USB Restriction Mode?
USB Restriction Mode works by restricting access to the Lightning port on your iPhone. When the device hasn’t been used for an hour, the mode comes into operation.
If you go to Settings and check under Face ID (or Touch ID) & Passcode, you’ll see a new security feature for USB Accessories. By default, the switch is off. As a result, once your iPhone (or iPad) has been locked for over an hour, you will no longer be able to connect to the device via USB — shutting out cracking tools like GrayKey. However, any accessories that you want to continue working, toggle the option on to remove the hour limit.
The wording is a little bit confusing. Simply, if you want your iPhone to be most secure, leave the toggle disabled.
Boost for Privacy
Consequently, this is a big boost to user privacy for Apple. In a statement said “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,”
Back in 2016, the company went up against the FBI over an iPhone connected to the San Bernardino terrorist shootings. Apple, therefore, refused to build custom software that would bypass security measures designed to protect encrypted data on iOS products. A risk that Apple feared could fall into malicious hands and put millions of users at risk. Apple said in a statement on the feature. “We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”