Just a month after security researchers rang the alarm about the GrayKey iPhone cracking tool and its security risks, Motherboard comes with a troubling report. More and more law enforcement agencies are buying the device.
The GrayKey is a device you can only buy through a website hidden behind a form that checks for law enforcement affiliation. This is because GrayKey can crack iPhones after just connecting with them for 2 minutes. It takes only 3 hours for a short passcode and three days for a 6 digit passcode to appear on the screen of the cracked iPhone, which then allows authorities to access the data on them via a simple web-based interface.
A GrayKey can unlock any iPhone, including the iPhoneX.
According to Forbes, the company was formed by a former Apple security engineer alongside US intelligence agency contractors. Right now, according to the Motherboard report, the State Department owns an iPhone cracking device like this, and other agencies are lining up to follow in its footsteps. The Secret Service wants to buy at least half a dozen GrayKeys. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI are interested as well.
This doesn’t mean the government will stop pressuring Apple to include backdoors into their devices, to allow for easier access, as GrayKey devices only exploit existing vulnerabilities. Once Apple identifies and patches those vulnerabilities, GrayKey could no longer crack iPhones.
Until that happens, the authorities have the means to access any iPhone at their disposal. If a Graykey ends up on the black market or it’s replicated, this could spell trouble for all iPhone users, not just those currently under investigation.