A little light is being shed on the claim stemming from last week made by Swedish company Micro Systemation, who claimed that they had a hack (software they call XRY) that would allow you to bypass the Passcode security built in to your iOS device.
Their claim was that they could bypass the passcode feature in under 2 minutes, suggesting that it really only keeps your information safe from “the prying eyes of the taxi driver whose cab you forget it in” and not from law enforcement officials or others determined to read what is found inside.
While not entirely false, iOS hacker Chronic has taken the time to clarify that XRY simply utilizes jailbreak exploits in order to accomplish their task. This means that their discovery is far from ground-breaking though they did succeed in making it into a simple enough tool that nearly anybody would be able to use it.
The other tidbit not often included in the XRY reports is that this software will not work on newer devices, so you are safe while running an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or iPad 3. While the technical details are a little over the heads (and interest) of most, the jist is that the A5 and A5x chips have been updated by Apple and are not vulnerable to the same exploit. Also, Chronic claims that the 2-minute-crack is only accurate if your passcode happens to be 0000 and that it may take considerably longer with a more complex combination of numbers.
The suggestion made by Chronic is that your best defense is to disable “simple passcode” option under General > Passcode Lock in the iOS Settings app, because the longer the password the more complex it becomes to circumvent it.
With mobile devices always by our sides as we are out and about, the odds that they may be lost or stolen are not in our favor. While you may not be too worried about somebody passing that new Angry Birds level on your behalf or accessing your super-secret grocery shopping list, consider the e-mail and other links into documents and accounts that may be present on your device.
Do you have a passcode enabled on your device?