Apple to close iPhone security loophole used by police

Apple has not been immune to the demands made by law enforcement agencies, with a high profile example involving an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter and the FBI's interest in gaining access to data on the device.

The current flaw has provided a point of entry for authorities across the US since the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid an unidentified third party in 2016 to unlock an iPhone used by a mass killer in the San Bernardino shooting a few months earlier. This leaves enough time for the third parties involved in the accessory market to come up with good adapters for those who will carry around their existing accessories after Apple makes the switch from Lightning to USB Type-C.

Apple is reportedly changing the default settings on iPhones to close a loophole which can be used to access locked phones via the charging and data port.

Law enforcement and security teams are unlikely to be the only people affected. iPhone peripherals have industrial and medical uses - and DJs had better not wander too far from the decks.

The USB Restricted Mode will arrive in an upcoming software update. Apple is supposedly also planning to cut its charging costs by switching from Broadcom to Texas Instruments for its LCD iPhone wireless charging hardware.

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In an email, an Apple spokesman, Fred Sainz, said the company is constantly strengthening security protections and fixes any vulnerability it finds in its phones, partly because criminals could also exploit the same flaws that law enforcement agencies use.

If a law enforcement agency wants to gain access to an iPhone, its options are limited, even with a warrant.

However, Apple denied the changes were created to thwart United States law enforcement.

Apple is planning to add USB-C "support" to its 2019 iPhones and future iPads, according to the latest iteration of a rumor floated annually by the company's Asian supply chain. In March, Grayshift began selling a device worth $15,000, which allowed authorities to do the unlocking themselves. Apple said that since 2013, it has responded to more than 55,000 requests from the United States government seeking information about more than 208,000 devices, accounts or financial identifiers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter explaining the company's refusal to provide a security "backdoor" for law enforcement.

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