Maker of 'GrayKey' iPhone Unlocking Box Suffers 'Brief' Data Breach, Receives Money Demands

Grayshift, the company that makes the GrayKey iPhone unlocking boxes that have been sold to multiple law enforcement agencies across the United States, recently suffered a data breach that allowed hackers to access a small portion of the GrayKey code, reports VICE's Motherboard.

graykey1


Last week, unknown hackers leaked portions of the GrayKey code and demanded two bitcoin from Grayshift with the threat of additional data being leaked. According to Motherboard, the code in question "does not appear to be particularly sensitive," but Grayshift did confirm that a "brief" data leak had occurred.

Indeed, Grayshift told Motherboard in a statement "Due [to] a network misconfiguration at a customer site, a GrayKey unit's UI was exposed to the internet for a brief period of time earlier this month."

"During this time, someone accessed the HTML/Javascript that makes up our UI. No sensitive IP or data was exposed, as the GrayKey was being validation tested at the time. We have since implemented changes to help our customers prevent unauthorized access," the statement added.

Grayshift says that no sensitive IP or data was exposed, and Motherboard confirms that the leaked code appears to be related to the user interface that displays messages on the GrayKey, but it's clear that Grayshift security is not airtight, raising questions about what kind of data might be accessible to hackers.

The GrayKey is a small, portable gray box equipped with dual Lightning cables. An iPhone is plugged into one of the cables to install proprietary software that's able to guess the passcode to an iPhone in as little as a few hours to a few days, based on the strength of the passcode.

GrayKey, which is priced starting at $15,000, can crack the latest iPhones running modern versions of iOS, including iOS 11. While the box is designed to provide law enforcement officials with easy access to locked iPhones for criminal investigations, there have been fears that the GrayKey technology could fall into the wrong hands.

The box has been sold to multiple law enforcement agencies across the country, and the data breach that Grayshift suffered, however inconsequential, is not at all reassuring for those who are worried about the security of the GrayKey boxes. The underlying functionality that allows the GrayKey to crack iPhones could be discovered and replicated, and the GrayKey boxes themselves are said to download data from cracked iPhones, which could also be at risk in a data breach.

According to Motherboard, Grayshift has not paid the extortionists their two bitcoin fee, as the Bitcoin addresses provided have received no funds. An additional Bitcoin address promising to provide interested parties with GrayKey information has also not received funds.

Grayshift says that "changes" have been made to help customers prevent unauthorized access to GrayKey boxes in the future, but Motherboard discovered another exposed GrayKey device broadcasting similar code.

Using the computer search engine Shodan, Motherboard found a seemingly exposed GrayKey device, broadcasting similar chunks of code to the open internet.

"To brute force a complex alphanumeric passcode, upload a custom password dictionary. If a dictionary is not uploaded, GrayKey will not attempt to brute force custom alphanumeric passcodes," one section of the apparent device's code reads.

The technology used for the GrayKey will likely be outdated at some point through updates to the iOS operating system, but as far as we know now, it's still functional for even the latest versions of iOS and the newest iOS devices, including the iPhone X.

Those worried about GrayKey and similar technologies can implement stronger and more secure passcodes and passwords that are more difficult to guess through brute forcing to prevent these kinds of tools from working. A 6-digit numeric passcode, Apple's default, can be guessed in as little as 11 hours, but an 8-digit numeric code can take over a month, while a 10-digit numeric code can take years.

Security experts recommend alphanumeric passcodes that are at least seven characters long with numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols included. The longer the password, the more secure it is from GrayKey-style guessing methods. For more information on Grayshift's data breach, check out Motherboard's full report.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

rictus007 Avatar
58 months ago
That’s exactly why the iPhone, et al... should not have a back door
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tooloud10 Avatar
58 months ago
This is far beyond irony or karma, this is exactly what we've been screaming the warnings about for years now about why backdoors are an incredibly bad idea.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lkrupp Avatar
58 months ago
Oh, and this technology will be exclusive to law enforcement and will never get in the hands of bad actors. Right.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
58 months ago
This is exactly why Tim Cook said you shouldn't build back-doors into products. Hackers will get at those back-doors one way or another.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
58 months ago
Sure, let's build a "secure" government back door into all customer data and communications, what could go wrong?
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
charlesdayton Avatar
58 months ago
I just want Apple to fix this bug so the stupid boxes become expensive paperweights.

Users have a right to privacy.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo

Five Features Rumored for the New iPad Pro Expected Next Month

Wednesday September 21, 2022 1:36 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will announce new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models as soon as next month. The new iPads will be the first update to the iPad Pro series since April 2021 and will be an overall incremental upgrade that brings new capabilities and functionality to the highest-end iPad. According to reports, Apple is planning an event for October to announce the new iPad Pro models, a...
ios 16 lock screen feature

Some iOS 16 Users Complain About Slow Spotlight Search and Battery Drain

Wednesday September 21, 2022 4:25 am PDT by
It's been nine days since Apple released iOS 16 to the public, bringing major changes to the Lock Screen, Messages, Maps, and more. In the days following the release, some users have encountered several issues on their iPhones, ranging from slow system performance to battery drain. In the past few days, iPhone 14 Pro users have shared specific bugs related to Apple's latest high-end iPhones, ...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
apple watch ultra reddit 1

Lucky Customer Gets New Apple Watch Ultra Two Days Early

Wednesday September 21, 2022 2:03 pm PDT by
With millions of devices shipping out to customers with every Apple launch, there's occasionally someone who gets lucky and gets a new product ahead of schedule. This time around, Redditor playalisticadillac received an Apple Watch Ultra from AT&T two days before the official debut, sharing some images on the social media site. The images include an unboxing and comparisons to the...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...