Since iOS 7, Apple has tried to discourage iPhone theft with its Activation Lock. This allows an owner to remotely lock their iPhone or iPad if misplaced, lost, or stolen. Additionally, anytime a thief tries to disable features like Find My iPhone or to Factory reset, an Apple ID is required. Meaning that if your handset or tablet is stolen, it can’t be wiped and resold. However, two researchers have found a way to bypass the iOS 10 Activation Lock, here’s what you need to know.
iOS 10 Activation Lock Bypassed
Designed to be the best security software, the iOS 10 Activation Lock, has been bypassed using a previously unknown bug in Apple’s firmware.
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The first report to reach the internet appeared on Sunday, November 27, 2016. And pointed towards an Indian security researcher named Hemanth Joseph. Apparently, he became interested in testing the iOS 10 Activation Lock after purchasing a locked iPad via Ebay.
Now let’s be clear, there’s no indication that the initial attempt to break through Apple’s security layer was intentional. However, Hemanth was able to quickly bypass the security layer on the iPad and gain access to the Home Screen.
How was this Possible?
One of the only things the iOS 10 activation lock allows a connection with is a local Wi-Fi Network. This also allows a potential thief to configure a Wi-Fi connection manually.
However, when a username and password are entered, the system will require an Apple ID to continue. But, seeing as the iPhone or iPad is locked. It can’t cross reference the details on Apple’s server meaning that the iOS 10 Activation Lock is intact.
Unfortunately, Hemanth discovered that he was able to fool the system by selecting “Other Network” from the Wi-Fi drop-down list. And then by entering an unusually long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise “Name”, “Username”, and “Password” areas.
Hemanth claims that after entering the characters using this method the iPad’s screen froze. He then used an iPad Smart cover sold by Apple to place the iPad back to sleep. However, covers can switch an iPad on-and-off, and he did this while the device was experiencing the freezing error. Consequentially, Hemanth was able to bypass the iOS 10 Activation Lock and again access to the tablets Home Screen.
Hemanth also claimed that he reported this discovery to Apple on November 4, and Apple had said “it would investigate”. Discovered on iOS 10.1, Apple has supposedly fixed the problem with the release of iOS 10.1.1.
Another Security Breach
Yes, you guessed correctly, Apple’s updated firmware iOS 10.1.1 has had its Activation Lock bypassed too. However, this time it comes from a German researcher called Benjamin Kunz Mejri. On Thursday, December 1, 2016, he posted a video to YouTube (see above) showing his bypass.
Working for the German company Vulnerability Lab, he has been able to create an iOS 10.1.1 exploit using the screen rotation lock and Night Shift mode. And again the entering of an excessively large amount of characters into the Wi-Fi form fields.
While Apple works hard to keep its user’s devices safe, it seems that untested bugs do trip it up. So, seeing as this latest iOS 10 Activation Lock Bypass has been proven to work. It’s likely that the Cupertino-based tech giant will be working feverishly on a fix.
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