Spurned by the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015, law enforcement has sought out ways to unlock Apple devices by exploiting the company’s software. According to a report from MalwareBytes, one such device is called GrayKey, which is reportedly capable of unlocking an iPhone protected by a password.
The device, which looks like a prototype Apple TV, works in a plug-and-play manner, and can unlock an iOS device in a matter of hours. MalwareBytes says the process works by connecting an iPhone to GrayKey, which then exploits code in the device’s software.
You can see images of GrayKey at the source link below
After being connected to GrayKey, an iPhone will display a black screen a few hours later. In some instances, it can take up to three days for the process to work depending on how complex the device’s passcode is. And if a phone has already been disabled, GrayKey is still said to be successful at unlocking it.
Once a device is finally unlocked, MalwareBytes says all the pertinent information can be accessed through a web-based interface, which can then be downloaded for more thorough analysis. Basically, anything and everything on your iPhone will be available.
GrayKey currently works with Apple’s latest hardware (iPhone X) and software (iOS 11.2.5). It’s unclear how GrayKey is able to extract information from Apple’s iOS devices, or if Apple has a fix planned for a future update.
Following the incident in San Bernardino, the FBI demanded Apple unlock the iPhone 5C used by the alleged gunmen. Apple refused to create a back door, though the FBI eventually got into the device using an exploit from a third-party company.
Needless to say, GrayKey’s ability to unlock an iPhone within mere hours is problematic for Apple and its millions of users. MalwareBytes points to the proliferation of the IP-Box 2, which could also access the contents of older iPhone models, and how it found its way onto sites like Amazon.
Of course, at prices ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, it’s unlikely GrayKey will make its way onto the black market. And even if it did, law enforcement credentials are required for it to work properly.
There are many more details about GrayKey in the report from MalwareBytes, which is well worth the read.