Giving credence to the belief that Apple smartphones can be cracked, a US-based company has claimed that its online tools, available at a starting price of $15,000, can break into any iPhone including the newly-launched iPhone X.
According to a report in Forbes, Grayshift is marketing a tool "GrayKey" to police and forensics organisations promising to unlock iPhones running iOS 10 and iOS 11 — the latest two mobile Apple operating systems.
The company — reportedly staffed by US intelligence agency contractors and a former Apple security engineer — also claimed to be able to crack iPhones running iOS 9 in the near future. "GrayKey" would cost law enforcement $15,000 for 300 uses. Those who want to unlock iPhones for an unlimited number of times would need to pay $30,000.
"GrayKey" is able to extract the full filesystem from a device and brute-force passcodes, despite Apple's safeguards against that practice, AppleInsider reported. Since this tool does not require sending devices into a lab for the unlocking process, Apple could obtain a copy and reverse-engineer it to discover how it works and fix relevant security holes.
The revelation comes a few days after Israeli company Cellebrite announced that it could unlock the latest Apple handsets, including iPhone X. Cellebrite Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Nazarian told Forbes that the company was offering its services to law enforcement for the welfare of the public.
"There's a public safety imperative here," Nazarian was quoted as saying. The executive also claimed that the firm's capabilities were useful to help against "major public threats in any community" such as homicides, crimes against children and drug-related gang activity.