Apple Tests Feature That Could Hamper Investigators' Access to iPhones

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

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", the company said in a statement.

Apple is reportedly closing a loophole that allows locked iPhones to be accessed without their owners' passcodes, disabling a method often used by law enforcement. Rumor has it that Apple is considering switching its iPhone lineup from Lightning to USB-C for charging.

The new security feature, which has already been tested on beta versions of iOS, will be available in future iPhone models. If enabled - which it will be by default (yayy!) - this port can only be used for charging after that one hour period and nothing else.

Apple said its changes were made with criminals in mind who can exploit the same vulnerabilities as law enforcement to break into stolen phones. The change is coming through a series of software updates and should be on most iPhones sometime in the fall.

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Forensic companies that once employed machines to break through security provisions will now have only an hour to run code on the devices. Heralded with pushing the envelope and popularising many technologies that were once considered unfeasible, the company is also known for its sluggishness in making certain industry standards available to its users.

According to Digitimes, the company are hoping to introduce the new cables and phase out the old ones starting next year.

The practice has spread in recent years, with law enforcement agencies around the world buying devices that can pull information off a locked phone. However, the company said it isn't doing so to frustrate Federal Bureau of Investigation. In March, an inspector general for the Justice Department found that federal law enforcement officials "did not pursue all possible avenues" to break into the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino attack. The FBI claims it has at least hundreds of electronics devices connected to investigations that it can't access due to encryption.

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