Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect criminal evidence

Apple closes law enforcement loophole for the iPhone

Apple closes law enforcement loophole for the iPhone

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs". Companies including Cellebrite and Grayshift sell the devices, which plug into the Lightning port.

Police across the country are purchasing a tool called GrayKey.

A legal standoff followed the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, sparking a debate about whether Apple should install backdoors for forensics teams to access data on iPhone quickly -in this case, specifically on the iPhone of the shooter, who killed 14 people in the attack.

"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", Apple told TechCrunch in an emailed statement.

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The change may not sound like much, but it probably throws a serious roadblock in law enforcement attempts to break into iPhones.

The company resisted and the Federal Bureau of Investigation eventually paid experts to develop technology that unlocked the phone.

News of Apple's planned software update has begun spreading through security blogs and law enforcement circles - and many in investigatory agencies are infuriated. Grayshift, founded by a former Apple engineer, even markets a $15,000 device created to help police to exploit the security hole in the iPhone's current software.

"It would be wrong to reduce hundreds of millions of iPhone users' security and privacy just to help law enforcement agencies, authoritarian regimes, and state-sponsored hackers crack into a few mobile phones".

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Either way, researchers and police vendors will find new ways to break into phones, and Apple will then look to patch those vulnerabilities.

Apple said that it has a team that responds to law enforcement and national security requests 24 hours a day.

In the first 10 months of 2017, the Manhattan district attorney's office said it had recovered and obtained warrants or consent to search 702 locked smartphones, two-thirds of which were iPhones.

Apple and most private security experts argue that government contractors and others can usually find means of cracking devices.

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