Apple steps up encrytion to thwart police cracking of iPhones

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Apple says it is to change the default settings of its iPhone to stop hackers and others unlocking devices without proper legal authorisation. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", the company said in a statement. While the 2017 iPhones also supported fast charging, Apple continued bundling its 5W USB-A charger with the handsets.

Apple has said it will change iPhone settings to block a method used by police and intelligence agencies to break into devices.

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The setting change could also draw criticism from USA law enforcement officials who have been engaged in an on-again, off-again campaign for legislation or other ways to force technology companies to maintain access to users' communications. In 2016, it went to court to fight an order that it break into an iPhone 5c used by a terrorist killer in San Bernardino. Instead, the Federal Bureau of Investigation purchased a tool from a third-party that let it hack into the device.

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Apple said it was working a fix to mitigate the possibility of accessing data from GrayKey or similar tools. Though you'll still be able to charge a phone without tapping in a password, you'll now need one to pull data off it via that port.

The spread of popular consumer devices with access to user communications, photos, documents, call records and location histories proved to be a massive boon for law enforcement and intelligence services for years. Apple pointed out Wednesday that it has responded to thousands of requests from USA law enforcement for access to customer data - more than 14,000 in 2017. However, the company said it isn't doing so to frustrate Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Currently, law enforcement and others can plug specialized tools made by cybersecurity experts into the phone's Lightning port to access data.

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