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NYC Has a $10M Cybercrime Lab to Crack the iPhone

In a lab in New York City, two computers generate random numbers in an effort to guess the passcodes that keep smartphones seized by crime suspects locked down. The challenge is daunting, but not impossible if you can circumvent Apple’s limits on attempts. A four-digit key has 10,000 possible combinations, whereas a six-digit key has one million.

To prevent the devices from contacting remote servers or responding to wipe requests, New York City is storing iPhones within a vault-like faraday cage, designed to block electromagnetic waves. Fast Company has taken an insider’s look into at what it’s like to try to break into an iPhone.

Apple has anticipated this sort of attack from criminals, which is why it limits the number of times per minute that a passcode can be tried, even after memory chips have been removed from a device. This often requires investigators to look into the suspects life to try to find relevant codes. Birthdays, anniversaries, zip codes and more are all tested, in hopes of breaking into the device to extract useful information… AppleInsider

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