The GrayKey device that law enforcement agencies use to crack the suspect’s iPhone has become useless after the official release of iOS 12. According to several anonymous line reports, the GrayKey Black Box is currently unable to obtain a power-on password from an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 and higher. At present, law enforcement agencies can only extract some unencrypted documents and metadata such as file size and folder structure on these devices.
It is unclear what Apple uses a method to block access GrayKey running iOS 12 and later systems of the iPhone. EllaSoft CEO Vladimir Katalov said that he could not know Apple’s approach.
“No idea. It could be everything from better kernel protection to stronger configuration-profile installation restrictions,” he suggested. The kernel is the core part of the operating system, from which the rest of iOS launches. Configuration profiles typically allow individuals and companies to customize the ways in which iOS apps work.”
A company called Grayshift built GrayKey, and the media exposed details about the product in March of this year. The law enforcement agency is said to use the device to connect to the iPhone and install professional software to crack the iPhone’s power-on password. A 4-digit password can be broken in only 6 minutes and a half, while a 6-digit password takes a little longer, averaging 11 hours.
Apple has introduced a new USB Restricted Mode feature with this iOS 11 release, but this mechanism does not stop GrayKey as the technical details behind it are made public.
Of course, this is only temporary. I believe that companies like Grayshift will certainly develop better ways to bypass Apple’s new mechanism, and then Apple will continue to raise the standard.