Security Researcher Accuses Apple of Censoring Taiwan's Flag in China

Not exactly China's favorite flag

Not exactly China's favorite flag

Any USB accessory that connects to an iPhone over the Lightning port works, including Apple's own Lighting to USB 3 Camera adapter which is available for $39. The denial of service bug was live in iOS 11.3 and was seen affecting an iPhone 7 device, but, Apple has issued a fix with the iOS 11.4.1 update released just a few days ago.

Wardle, chief research officer at Digita Security, released details of the bug on his blog.

Unfortunately, USB Restricted Mode doesn't appear to be ideal; a $39 USB adapter can easily defeat it, according to ElcomSoft researcher Oleg Afonin.

With iOS 11.4.1, Apple's operating system will block techniques, which allowed these tools to bypass the company's default disk encryption. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs". Apple described it as a new "security protection" meant to bulk up existing iOS security features that prevent constant passcode guesses.

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It's unclear exactly how many customers were affected by the iPhone glitch, since anyone who had their Apple ID location set to China was vulnerable - not only those who had bought their handset in the country.

While the impact description may seem fairly "run of the mill" as far as flaws are concerned, the conditions under which the flaw was triggered prior to its correction in iOS 11.4.1 are perhaps of interest. "Though Apple loves to exude an aura of "users first", the reality is they are first and foremost a corporation".

The glitch first surfaced past year after Apple started to censor the emoji on handsets in China, which does not recognise the island's independence. But Afonin notes that the Lightning port's communication protocol was created to be open, not to stifle access between USB accessories. Now, Apple is stopping that way of gaining entry to an iOS device. It operates like this: if an iPhone or iPad is not unlocked after one hour, data access through the Lightning port will shut down.

Can you still use your USB accessories?

Enter your passcode, and then scroll down until you reach USB Accessories. Apple had said this will improve privacy of their users.

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