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Some iOS users report that 11.4 update triggers excessive battery drain

11 July, 2018, 05:28 | Author: Janis Wilson
  • FBI agent on a phone

In addition to the expected fixes and improvements, iOS 11.4.1 brings over a feature that's called USB Restricted Mode, whose objective is to prevent those iPhone hacking machines that law enforcement is using to bypass the screen lock from hacking iOS devices.

But nearly immediately after this feature made it out to the public, a cybersecurity firm found a loophole (ElcomSoft via The Verge) that resets the counter that determines whether it's been an hour since you've locked the phone. Once the feature is enabled, an iPhone becomes inaccessible to any third-party software over USB if its screen is locked for one hour.

"What we want to see is more granular control over what can and what cannot trigger the USB Restricted Mode".

Elcomsoft engineer Oleg Afonin noted that testing showed that once USB Restricted Mode kicks in, there is no obvious way to break it.

"Once the police officer seizes an iPhone, he or she would need to immediately connect that iPhone to a compatible USB accessory to prevent USB Restricted Mode lock after one hour", he said.

This chink in the USB Restricted Mode's armor can probably be closed, but it might prove annoying to users.

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It's worth noting that nobody has been able to hack USB Restricted Mode yet, once it's actually been an hour since you unlocked the phone. Does downloading and installing the next version of the mobile operating system, iOS 11.4.1, fix it? Many Lightning accessories, however, don't have the capability to do that, so the iPhone just trusts them by default.

Battery drain is not listed among the bugs iOS 11.4.1 addresses.

Of course, this only works if the device hadn't entered in USB Restricted Mode by the time the police obtained it.

Apple curiously didn't include the security in the release notes, probably to not alert "interested parties".

We've contacted Apple for comment and will update this post when we hear from them. Another user having similar issues claims that the iPhone was updated to iOS 11.4, charged to 100%, rebooted and left in standby for four hours. According to ElcomSoft, a fix could render numerous Lightning accessories useless - though it might be possible to make sure the iOS device only communicates with devices that were previously plugged into it.

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