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Apple closing iPhone security gap used by law enforcement

AP  |  San Francisco 

is closing a security gap that allowed outsiders to pry personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations.

The loophole will be shut down in a forthcoming update to Apple's software, which powers iPhones.

Once fixed, iPhones will no longer be vulnerable to intrusion via the used both to transfer data and to charge iPhones. The port will still function after the update, but will shut off data an hour after a phone is locked if the correct isn't entered.

The current flaw has provided a point of entry for authorities across the US since the FBI paid an unidentified third party in 2016 to unlock an used by a mass killer in the San Bernardino shooting a few months earlier.

The FBI sought outside help after rebuffed the agency's efforts to make the company create a security backdoor into technology.

Apple's refusal to cooperate with the FBI at the time became a political hot potato pitting the rights of its customers against the broader interests of public safety.

While waging his successful 2016 campaign, ripped for denying FBI access to the San Bernardino killer's locked

In a statement yesterday, Apple framed its decision to tighten iPhone security even further as part of its crusade to protect the highly personal information that its customers store on their phones.

has hailed privacy as a "fundamental" right of people and skewered both and one of Apple's biggest rivals, Google, for vacuuming up vast amounts of personal information about users of their free services to sell advertising based on their interests.

During Apple's 2016 battle with the FBI, he called the FBI's effort to make the a "dangerous precedent" in an open letter.

"We're constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data," Apple said.

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs." it was first reported by various new outlets, including and

It's unclear what took Apple so long to close an iPhone entryway that had become well-known among legal authorities and, presumably, criminals as well.

It got to that point that two different firms, Israel-based and US startup Grayshift, began to sell their services to agencies trying to hack into locked iPhones, according to

Grayshift, founded by a former Apple engineer, even markets a USD 15,000 device designed to help police to exploit the security hole in the iPhone's current software.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 14:25 IST
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