Apple says it will change the default settings of its iPhone to stop hackers and law enforcement agencies to unlock devices without legal approval.
The Apple company has announced that a forthcoming software update will fix a vulnerability that allowed data to be transferred via the iPhone’s Lightning port without legal authorisation.
The move will also make it more difficult for police to unlock handsets without authorisation.
However, Apple denied the changes were designed to thwart US law enforcement. The company has been a prominent opponent of US legislation to force technology companies to maintain access to users’ communications.
In the update, the iPhone’s Lightning port will disable data transfer functionality. Once the device locks, nothing would be transferred from it unless the user’s password is entered first. Before, a loophole meant it was theoretically possible to access a handset’s data at any time using specialist ‘cracking’ software or hardware.
Police forces made use of the ‘flaw’ to glean evidence and background information from phones for use in criminal investigations, but weren’t required to attain authorisation.
“We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs,” Said Apple.
The changes to the default settings of the iPhone are intended to stop unauthorised access to the phones via the USB port without full legal authorisation.