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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Briefly: 77 percent on iOS 8, cracking box for older iOS versions

Briefly: 77 percent on iOS 8, cracking box for older iOS versions
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Mar 18, 2015, 04:59 PM
A new device on the market costing $300 could be used by attackers to crack the PIN codes on iOS devices running system versions older than iOS 8.1.1. While the chances of it being used on someone's personal device are extremely low -- since it requires both physical access to the device as well as a great deal of time -- users can protect their devices and foil the so-called "IP Box" attack by moving to a more complex passcode.

The "IP Box" works by trying a PIN code through a connection to the device by USB, but cuts power to the iOS device before the attempt is recorded, effectively eliminating the 10-try limit. However, each attempt takes nearly 40 seconds, mostly due to the device rebooting, reports MDSec. The attack is ineffective against devices that are running iOS 8.1.1 or later.

The 'IP Box' as tested by MDSec

This, along with the requirement to have physical access, would make the device seem pointless -- but for the fact that 25 percent of the population use a variation on 20 similar four-digit PIN codes. Devices that are at risk can be protected by users opting to switch to the more complex passcodes which are allowed by iOS devices in the settings.

Apple: 77 percent of iOS devices now running iOS 8

In a development related to the possible success of the "IP Box," Apple is now reporting that 77 percent of all active iOS devices are running iOS 8 or higher, dramatically cutting down on the pool of available iOS devices using older systems that could be vulnerable to the PIN attack mentioned above. Users of iOS 7 make up only 20 percent of iOS users, while a declining three percent of owners are running iOS 6 or earlier, likely due to using the original iPad or early iPhone models that can't be upgraded to recent releases.

The iOS 7 users now appear to be migrating to iOS 8 at a rate of about two percent every three weeks or so. The normally-rapid rate of adoption of iOS 8 was slowed somewhat by a faulty early update that caused problems for the few users who obtained it, but scared off others into being more cautious in updating. Adoption rates have been back to normal since the start of the new year.

The news comes on the heels of iOS 8.2, which introduced the Apple Watch app for use with eventual pairing for the forthcoming watch, which will be available for public preview on April 10, and go on sale at retail on April 24. Currently, iOS 8.3 is in beta testing, and has even been offered to registered public AppleSeed testers. That release will bring new emoji characters and support for more languages understood by Siri, among other changes.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 18, 2015 at 07:14 PM. )
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