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Now We Know — Apple Can Unlock iPhones, Here's How to Hack-Proof your Device

Discussion in 'The Hacker News' started by RSS, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. RSS

    RSS New Member Member

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    Apple has been asked to comply with a federal court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone 5C by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino mass shootings that killed 14 and injured 24 in December.

    The FBI knows that it can not bypass the encryption on the iPhone, but it very well knows that Apple can make a way out that could help them try more than 10 PINs on the dead shooter's iPhone without getting the device's data self-destructed.

    Although Apple refused to comply with the court order and has always claimed its inability to unlock phones anymore, the FBI so cleverly proved that Apple does have a technical way to help feds access data on a locked iOS device.

    And this is the first time when Apple has not denied that it can not unlock iPhones, rather it simply refused to build the FBI a Backdoor for the iPhone, in an attempt to maintain its users trust.

    So, now we know that Apple is not doing so, but it has the ability to do so.

    Now, when you know there are chances that your unlocked iPhone can be accessed by the government even if you have enabled "Auto-Destruct Mode" security feature on your device, you need to protect your iPhone beyond just 4/6-digit passcode.

    How to Hack-Proof your iPhone?


    Yes, it is possible for you to protect yourself from government snooping just by setting a strong passcode on your iPhone — passcode that the FBI or any government agency would not be able to crack even if they get iPhone backdoor from Apple.

    Without wasting much of your time, here's one simple solution:

    • Simply Set at least random 11-digit numeric passcode for your iPhone.


    Here's why (FBI Can't Crack It):


    There is only one way, i.e. Brute Force attack, to crack your iPhone passcode. This is what the FBI is demanding from Apple to create a special version of iOS that increases the brute force attempts and ignores the data erasure setting.

    iPhones intentionally encrypt its device's data in such a way that one attempt takes about 80 milliseconds, according to Apple.

    So, if your iPhone is using a 6-digit passcode and there are 1 Million possible combinations as a whole, it would take maximum time of 22 hours or on average 11 hours to successfully unlock iPhone.

    However, if you are using a longer passcode such as a random 11-digit passcode, it will take up to 253 years, and on average 127 years to unlock iPhone.

    Doing so will make the FBI or any other agency unable to unlock your iPhone; not unless they have hundreds of years to spare.

    To set a strong passcode, click 'Passcode options,' select 'Custom numeric code,' and then enter your new but random passcode.

    Things to Avoid While Setting a Passcode


    1. Do Not Use a Predictable Passcode: Avoid choosing a predictable string such as your birth dates, phone numbers, or social security numbers, as these are first priorities of attackers to try.

    2. Do Not Use iCloud Backups: Avoid using an iCloud backup because doing so will enable the attacker to get a copy of all your iPhone’s data from Apple’s server, where your passcode no longer protects it. This will eliminate the need to guess your passcode.

    3. Do Not Use Your Fingerprint: We have seen data breaches that had exposed fingerprints online and also, it is easy to bypass Apple Touch ID Fingerprint scanner. Even fingerprints can be collected from a suspect's corpse. So, using fingerprint security feature could also end up unlocking your iPhone in less time.

    So, by choosing a strong passcode, the FBI or any other agency will not be able to unlock your encrypted iPhone, even if they install a vulnerable version of iOS on it.

    Warning: You need to remember your passcode, whatever you set, because no one except you would be able to unlock your iPhone. Once you forgot your passcode, there is nothing you can do to get your important data and even access to your iPhone back.​
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