Apple Takes Steps to Block Devices That Can Crack Your iPhone's Passcode

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But the company has been a target of some in law enforcement for rejecting efforts to allow easy access to iPhones.

It comes as a big annoyance to many users, but Apple remains the technological trendsetter, and despite usually not being first, a technology never really arrives until Apple adopts it. 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. While this will likely make it more hard for law enforcement officials to access iPhones, it could result in the purchase of more GrayKey devices as they look to get them closer to where seizures occur.

Since then, law enforcement agencies across the country have increasingly employed that strategy to get into locked iPhones they hope will hold the key to cracking cases.

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The FBI ultimately found a contractor that broke into the phone without Apple's help.

A customer views the new iPhone 7 smartphone inside an Apple Inc. store in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 16, 2016. "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", the company added.

Law enforcement agencies that have purchased a GrayKey device include the Drug Enforcement Administration, which bought an advanced model earlier this year for $30,000, according to public records.

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GrayKey is a simple-to-use box that cops plug into a locked iPhone through the Lightning port and brute-force guesses the passcode without needing codes to be manually entered.

Apple has stated that it will block law enforcement hacking tools in iOS 12.

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. Law enforcement officials said they generally send iPhones to Cellebrite to unlock, with each phone costing several thousand dollars to open. Grayshift did not respond to requests for comment.

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