If the new report from Forbes is to be believed, extracting data from a locked and an encrypted iPhone is no more a myth. The publication claims that the FBI used a tool called GrayKey to hack into an accused’s iPhone 11 Pro Max and extract data from it.
The report states “Last year, FBI investigators in Ohio used a hacking device called a GrayKey to draw data from the latest Apple model, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The phone belonged to Baris Ali Koch, who was accused of helping his convicted brother flee the country by providing him with his own ID documents and lying to the police. He has now entered a plea agreement and is awaiting sentencing.”
Sure, the phone could have been in the unlocked state when the FBI’s investigators acquired it, and the whole drama about the GrayKey is just a speculation. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the publication claims that it had confirmed from Koch’s lawyer that the handset was indeed locked when the agency got its hands on the device.
“Koch had not given it to them nor did they force the defendant to use his face to unlock the phone via Face ID, as far as the lawyer was aware. The search warrant document obtained by Forbes, dated October 16, 2019, also showed the phone in a locked state, giving the strongest indication yet that the FBI has access to a device that can acquire data from the latest iPhone.”
For those of you who don’t know about the GrayKey, it is a tool developed by Grayshift. It is said to be a tiny box that can connect to two iPhones at a time and brute force into the device(s), and extract data from it or download iPhone’s entire file system that can be viewed on a web-based interface.
So, if iPhones did have such a vulnerability, Apple might have fixed it, right? Yes, that is what various reports online suggest – that the brand had fixed the issue back in 2018. If Apple did fix the problem, then how was the GrayKey able to extract the data? Was the hacked iPhone not running the OS with the fix? Well, that is highly unlikely as iPhone 11 Pro Max came out in 2019 – after Apple had rolled out the OS with a fix.
Even though government agencies are pushing Apple into allowing them to access locked iPhones of accused people and criminals, the brand has denied breaking into its user’s handsets. Now, it looks the agencies are coming up with their own methods to get into the iPhones. Will Apple be able to stop them? Hopefully. Do let us know your opinion in the comments section below.