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Home / Tips and Tricks / How To Stop Law Enforcement Keeping Your ID & Touch ID Devices Face & Face «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

How To Stop Law Enforcement Keeping Your ID & Touch ID Devices Face & Face «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

If you're ever able to turn your iPhone over to law enforcement agencies, whether it's police, government, or court systems, there are some ways to prevent them from gaining access to all of them potentially self-incriminating persons receive data.

We have mentioned on several occasions that Face ID and Touch ID are not your friends when it comes to law enforcement, and this is even clearer with a recent search warrant on federal investigations into possible interference by Russia in the presidential election 2016.

The warrant allowed access to the premises and electronic devices (especially two iPhone models) by Michael Cohen, the former lawyer of President Trump, to uncover bank fraud and secrecy.

Extensive search terms (starting on page 77) describe access to Cohen's two iPhone devices, both of which appear to be locked with the face ID or Touch ID. The highlight of the document is if you recommend using Cohen's face or fingerprint to unlock the devices. While this is perfectly acceptable to the authorities, it is not so easy for you to be forced to use your passcode.

In other cases, it has been discovered that the law does not allow you to enter or enter your passcode or PIN. or a password because that would violate your right to a fifth amendment against self-incrimination. While this refers to information that you know, your face and fingerprints are something that you have and are not considered self-incriminating.

Therefore, the easiest way to deny law enforcement access to the data on your iPhone is to disable the Face ID or Touch ID before they get their hands on it. However, this is not the only thing you could or should do. If you are ever in such a situation, follow some of the advice below.

Tip # 1
: Disabling Biometrics in Split Seconds

It is very unlikely that any of you will have the Face ID or touch the ID completely on your iPhone. Next, you should know how to disable these biometric features without having to tap the screen. This is very important if you engage in police stops that violate the right to a fourth amendment against illegal search and seizure without a warrant.

As of iOS 11, Apple added a security feature as part of Emergency SOS so you can turn it on. Temporarily disable biometric authentication by pressing the correct physical keys at the same time. For an iPhone 8 or later, these keys are the side key or the volume key. On an iPhone 7 and older, you would have to click the Page button five times in a row. You will then need to re-enter your password or password to re-enable biometric security.

Tip # 2: Enable protection from USB devices

If you've prevented law enforcement from using your biometric data against you, you can do that The next thing to worry about is using special hacking tools. Tools to brutally force your passcode or password. Tools like GrayKey and Cellebrite are known to be able to connect to the Lightning port on the iPhone.

From iOS 11.4.1, Apple added a setting that will prevent this Any data transfer from the Lightning port on your iPhone will be accepted upon authorization. The setting, which is referred to simply as "USB accessory", is in the Face ID, Touch ID, and Passcode settings. While most features require activation to be enabled, they must be disabled for them to be enabled because you want to deny access to USB accessories when locking them.

With this setting, your iPhone automatically locks all USB accessories for one hour after being locked. You can only continue access by using the Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode or password. If you followed Tip 1 above, only the password or password will be accepted.

Tip 3: Find access to my iPhone to block access

The last thing you can do is Find My iPhone. Anyone who wants to lose an expensive device or reveal personal information should have already activated it. If you do not already do so, enable it for some reason.

If law enforcement gets your iPhone in your hands and you're not sure if the previous two tips were successful, you can use your iPhone "Lost Mode", which prevents your iPhone from being accessed without a passcode or password can.

If you never expect to get your iPhone back, you can remotely erase your iPhone using Find My iPhone. A device with zero information is basically unusable for public authorities. If you delete your iPhone because it contains incriminating information, you should also delete any backups on iCloud and iTunes.

For both to work, however, your iPhone will need to be connected to the Internet. If it is not currently connected, enable "Lost Mode" or "Delete iPhone" the next time you connect to either lock or erase the device. Law enforcement agencies are aware of this trick, as stated in the Cohen search warrant, and they will do everything they can to prevent an Internet connection until they figure out how to retrieve the information from the device.

Tip # 4: Blocking Alerts on the Lock Screen

If you do not erase or put the device into "Lost Mode," the device will continue to function as normal. This means that notifications will be displayed on the lock screen if so. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent from being read on the lock screen without using the face ID, touch ID, or passcode or password. If you followed Tip 1, all you need to worry about is that people use your passcode or password to unlock the content behind the notifications.

Tip 5: Block widgets on the lock screen

Even more than just notifications, you may want to consider removing access to widgets on the lock screen, as frequent contacts, calendar events, and other information are visible even without unlocking.

You do not need to turn it off completely, but you should at least set it like this These widgets are visible only when the device is unlocked. For example, if you have an iPhone X or later, you can use face detection to unlock the device while you are on the lock screen and view the widgets.

Tip # 6: Use a Stronger Passcode (or Password)

An ongoing thread in this summary states that law enforcement agencies can only use your passcode or password to unlock the device, but you do not force it can give up. However, if you did not use Tip 2 above, you want at least a stronger passcode. Better yet, use an alphanumeric password instead.

There are only a million possible combinations for a six-digit numeric passcode, the default option for iOS, which is much faster to crack than longer codes. While a six-digit numeric passcode can only take hours to crack, an eight-digit code could take months with 100 million options, and a ten-digit code would take years with 10 billion possible combinations.

You can even go beyond 10-digit numeric passcodes, with as many numbers as you can remember. Better yet, you can use an alphanumeric password instead, which can use letters (uppercase and lowercase letters), numbers, and special characters. Plus, you can make it as long and safe as you want.

More details: 8 Passcode Tips to Protect Yourself from Hackers and Law Enforcement for Your iPhone

Editor's Note: We do not encourage or support criminal activities of any kind, there are situations where preventing access to making an iPhone more damaging, and it's a way to counter potential search and seizure violations.

Cover photo by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks [19659031]
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