A USB-based vulnerability that allows for the brute forcing of a passcode on an iOS device has been discovered by security researcher Matthew Hickey, reports ZDNet.

The method, which bypasses the 10-entry attempt that erases an iOS device when the setting is enabled, allows a hacker to plug an iPhone or iPad into a computer and send all passcodes, from 0000 to 9999, all at once, triggering an input routine that takes priority over anything else on the device. Hickey demos the hack in the video below.

"Instead of sending passcodes one at a time and waiting, send them all in one go," he said.

"If you send your brute-force attack in one long string of inputs, it'll process all of them, and bypass the erase data feature," he explained.

All that's required to use this brute force password cracking method is an iPhone or iPad that's turned on and locked and a Lightning cable, according to Hickey. It works on iOS devices up to iOS 11.3.

Hickey's iPhone cracking method takes between three and five seconds for each four-digit passcode, which means it's slow and not as advanced as other passcode cracking methods employed by companies like Grayshift, which makes the GrayKey box. For this method to guess a six-digit passcode, Hickey says it would take weeks.

Apple in iOS 12 is introducing a new USB Restricted Mode that may put a stop to the vulnerability that Hickey has discovered, as well as vulnerabilities exploited by tools like the GrayKey Box.

ios12usbaccessoriessetting
With USB Restricted Mode, enabled by default on iOS devices running iOS 12, USB access to an iPhone or iPad is cut off if it's been more than an hour since the device was last unlocked.

That means computers and other accessories can't be used to access a locked iPhone if it's been locked for over an hour, disabling access via a USB to Lightning cable.

Update: In a statement obtained by iMore, Apple says "the recent report about a passcode bypass on iPhone was in error, and a result of incorrect testing."

Top Rated Comments

B4U Avatar
52 months ago
Up to iOS 11.3...
Opens settings > general > about > version
Sees 11.4, close settings and move on with life.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
asdavis10 Avatar
52 months ago
Interesting bug.

Maybe instead of just coming up with ideas, Apple needs to have a team who’s job is to try to break or break into every Apple device. They should be full time employed with their sole mission being to find and exploit every possible weakness.
Somehow you seem to think that an almost trillion dollar company doesn't do this. Fact of the matter is that everything has a vulnerability. It's just a matter of how practical the exploit actually is for it to be useful.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonblatho Avatar
52 months ago
Testing and engineering design seem to have taken a backseat to thinness recently.
Great, this tired point again.

Apple has different employees who do different things. What you’re suggesting here is like asking a school custodian to take over a classroom from a teacher.
[doublepost=1529717755][/doublepost]
Up to iOS 11.3...
Opens settings > general > about > version
Sees 11.4, close settings and move on with life.
The iOS 11.4 security content notes ('https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208848') don’t specify anything seemingly related to this bug.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
flyinmac Avatar
52 months ago
Interesting bug.

Maybe instead of just coming up with ideas, Apple needs to have a team who’s job is to try to break or break into every Apple device. They should be full time employed with their sole mission being to find and exploit every possible weakness.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
centauratlas Avatar
52 months ago
Testing and engineering design seem to have taken a backseat to thinness recently.

Between the root bug and ones like this, one wonders how many others are out there.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TrulsZK Avatar
52 months ago
Get an alphanumeric passcode!

1 attempt takes 4 seconds, that means a 16 digit alphanumeric passcode with upper- and lower case, numbers, and two symbols will take up to 64^16=7,922816251e28 seconds which is in practice never. Unless you can run a dictionary attack or something.

With the brute force attempts an alphanumeric passcode is the only solution to stay safe.
[doublepost=1529735909][/doublepost]
3. Pops SIM out of tray
That is exactly why I want eSIM in the iPhone and passcode requirement when switching your phone off + auto restart after force shut down.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
widgets ios 16 feature

Gurman: iPhone 14 Pro to Feature Always-On Display Showing iOS 16's New Lock Screen Widgets

Sunday June 26, 2022 7:36 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro models are widely expected to feature always-on displays that allow users to view glanceable information without having to tap to wake the screen. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman said the feature will include support for iOS 16's new Lock screen widgets for weather, fitness, and more. "Like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 Pro will be...
m2 mac mini screen feature

Gurman: Apple Planning M2 Pro Mac Mini, New Apple TV With A14 Chip, Revamped HomePod With S8 Chip, and More

Sunday June 26, 2022 6:31 am PDT by
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman outlined additional M2 Macs on Apple's product roadmap, including new Mac mini models with M2 and M2 Pro chips, new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, and a new Mac Pro tower with M2 Ultra and "M2 Extreme" chips. Following the M2 series of Macs, Gurman said the first M3 series of...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro With M2 Chip Has Significantly Slower SSD Speeds

Sunday June 26, 2022 2:52 pm PDT by
Following the launch of Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, it has been discovered that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read/write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation model. YouTube channels such as Max Tech and Created Tech tested the 256GB model with Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app and found that the SSD's read and...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
tesla carplay hack

Tesla Apple CarPlay Hack Updated to Work With Any Tesla Model

Monday June 27, 2022 3:38 am PDT by
Polish developer Michał Gapiński has released a new and improved version of his "Tesla Android Project" which brings Apple's CarPlay experience to more Tesla vehicles than ever before. According to Gapiński, version 2022.25.1 provides "100% functional CarPlay integration for any Tesla," and comes with several new features and bug fixes. The project now supports DRM video playback so that...