Apple may no longer be helping authorities unlock your iPhone, even if they have a warrant, but that doesn’t mean your locked iPhone is Fort Knox.
Jonathan Zdziarski, an iOS forensic expert, recently revealed in a blog post that it’s technically still possible for police to access data from your locked iPhone, as long as it’s been paired to a computer and can still turn on.
It’s a big if, but here’s how the vulnerability works: When a locked iPhone is paired with a computer, iTunes can still pull data from your camera reel, your videos, recordings, podcasts, books, third-party apps, and other iTunes media.
This workaround wouldn’t even require police to crack your passcode.
“I can do it. I’m sure the guys in suits in the governments can do it,” Zdziarski told Wired. “And I’m sure that there are at least three or four commercial tools that can still do this, too.”
Zdziarski tested this vulnerability and was able to get access to data from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and web browsers, according to Wired.
The good news is it’s still not possible to get access to call records, emails, or Apple’s native iOS 8 apps, and police would need access to both your computer and your locked iPhone in order for your data to be vulnerable.
Zdziarski’s trick centres around gaining access to your iPhone’s “pairing record,” which can only be found on your computer, and will only allow access to an iPhone’s data if the phone has been unlocked since it was last powered on.
So, if you’re ever in a situation where you need to make sure your locked iPhone stays locked, just shut it off and you’ll be safe.
You can read Zdziarski’s full in-depth explanation of the vulnerability over at his blog.
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