Apple is constantly working to improve the security on its devices and protect our data. This has led to improved encryption and a shift from simple passcodes to fingerprint and most recently facial recognition on its smartphones. The security measures are so good, police seizing an iPhone have to be careful not to look directly at it.
There is one thorn in Apple's side when it comes to security, though, and that's the company Grayshift. Founded in 2016, it offers law enforcement agencies around the world an iPhone unlocking device called GrayKey. It works, or at least it did until now, and has won Grayshift many customers. However, that all changed with iOS 12.
As Forbes reports, with the release of iOS 12, Apple finally managed to stop GrayKey from working. It has been confirmed that any iPhone running iOS 12 can no longer be unlocked using a GrayKey device. The details of how Apple managed to block the device are unknown, but the last we heard about Apple's efforts to better secure its devices was a plan to close a Lightning port security hole back in June. Clearly that happened, but it's unlikely the only measure required to lock out Grayshift's system.
For consumers, it's a clear reminder that they should keep their mobile devices up-to-date. Upgrading to iOS 12 will better protect your device, and that protection now covers any attempts by law enforcement to unlock you phone. But for how long?
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Hardware security has always been a cat and mouse game. When one security hole closes another is eventually found and exploited. It could be months before GrayKey starts working again, or it could be days. iPhones are very secure devices, but they aren't perfectly secure, no hardware is.