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iOS lock screen bypassed in 7 seconds, but can you do it?

7 seconds to unlock a locked iPhone? Sounds too good to be true!

   

Passcodes have just about become the defacto security choice for many iPhone users. Despite the numerous advanced biometric solutions, like Face ID, the sheer convenience and friendliness of a four, six or perhaps longer digit range passcode, makes it the best security option for a lot of people. How it works on iOS is straightforward, and quite easy to comprehend. You get 10 attempts to enter the code. If all the attempts are attempted wrong then the information can get mechanically wiped.

For the security reasons, the number of attempts made is tracked by a hardware module, known as the Secure district. This creates extremely difficult to really disable the limit or circumvent it directly. As an additional security checkpoint, while brute-force is attempted, every consecutive pin entry encompasses a slightly longer interval.

iOS screen lock bypassed: How the attack works?

Now for the really fun part, the way to make this attack successful is by attaching an external device to the iPhone i.e. one simulation a keyboard. A hacker, going by the name “Hickey”, worked out that rather than input the codes one by one and then looking ahead for validation. You can generate all the mixtures in a solitary & very long string of inputs, with not a single blank area and send it over to the phone.

Apparently, iOS can still attempt to validate all the numbers. The opposite part of the trick stems from the actual fact that the keyboard input takes precedence over the wipe information command. So, in effect, the “Secure Enclave” would still be counting all of the failed attempts.

However, the particular wipe cannot occur before the phone is finished processing the inputs. This means that if you reiterate through all the potential sequences, you’ll eventually unlock and the wipe command would be nullified.

Now, “eventually” is the word in focus here. A four-digit passcode usually takes between 3 and 5 seconds to run through. That roughly equals an hour for simply one hundred combos. And you have to travel through 9999 if you consider the worst case situation.

Things increase quickly with six-digit codes – that is currently the default length on iOS. Still, it’s attention-grabbing to visualize that individual brute force attack has been possible with success even on iOS 11.3.

iOS screen lock bypassed: So what is Apple doing?

That being discussed, Apple hasn’t remained oblivious to such problems. We all know that this isn’t the only way of circumventing iPhone security out there in the tech wilderness. Companies, like Grayshift, have an entire business model which relies on these nicks and flaws. To combat this, iOS 12 has, what’s introduced something called as a USB Restricted Mode. It prevents the Lightning port from being employed to interact with alternative devices if the phone hasn’t been operated for over an hour. This renders exploitation methods like Hickey’s brute force attack quite powerless but not entirely incapacitated.

So do you think your iPhone would be secure after the iOS 12 update? Or do you believe that after this discovery iPhone security has taken a plunge for worse? Do let us know in the comments section below!

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Written by Ankit Jha

Ankit is a geek from New Delhi who loves smartphones, games and everything tech. When he's not busy writing here you can find him playing PUBG on his phone!

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