The security of Apple devices is so strong that research agencies keep encountering obstacles while trying to analyze these devices, although this does not mean that there are no alternatives available. For some time now, a small company dedicated to the sale of a device capable of unlocking almost any iPhone has gained notoriety thanks to its constant dealings with the U.S. authorities and law enforcement agencies, although there are multiple doubts about its operation.
Little is actually known about the device, called GrayKey, although constant requests for information based on transparency laws have forced manufacturers to disclose some details, such as the name of the agencies that use the device and ransom data about its mechanisms. Still, Motherboard researchers mention that there were only two publicly available GrayKey images; one was published by the Wall Street Journal two years ago, while the second image was revealed by MalwareBytes, a security firm, the same year.
A few days ago GrayShift, the device manufacturer initiated a paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to demonstrate that it meets minimum standards, allowing for more details about GrayKey to be published. Among the documentation presented by GrayShift are some images of the disassembled device, demonstrating that the GrayKey operates on an ARM processor manufactured by Compulab.
This was not the only recent finding on the device, as Motherboard obtained a screenshot of GrayKey’s user interface, extracted from an error report sent to the company via email. Investigators submitted a request for information to the company, which has not been responded to.
The use of GrayKey by research agencies is a widely documented fact. Last March, Motherboard revealed a database of more than 500 investigations in which authorities have tried to unlock an iPhone using various methods, including using GrayKey. While the result is not always satisfactory, it is a widely used method.
Apple and GrayShift have entered a strong competition, as the tech giant tries to implement more and more and better security measures on their devices, while GrayShift does not stop its search for new ways to unlock computers. One of Apple’s main security mechanisms is USB Restricted Mode, which sets stricter time limits to try to unlock an iPhone.
While there is not much chance that the publication of these photographs will reveal more details about how GrayKey works, the images provide some clarity about this device and its components, which a couple of years ago was impossible due to the secretion with which manufacturers operate and sell their product.
On the other hand, Apple will continue to work to install the necessary measures to prevent these activities and fulfill its privacy commitment, which has even been considered a policy against law enforcement activities.
He is a cyber security and malware researcher. He studied Computer Science at Miami and started working as a cyber security analyst in 2008. He is actively working as an cyber security investigator. He also worked for security companies like Cisco. His everyday job includes researching about new cyber security incidents. Also he has deep level of knowledge in enterprise security implementation.