iOS 'Unpatchable' Exploit Found In Apple's Secure Enclave Chip, Exists On Millions Of Devices

In the past, we have reported that there is a checkm8 exploit that allows jailbreak for almost all iOS devices up to iPhone X. Now the Pangu team in China discovered an "unpatchable" vulnerability in Apple's Secure Enclave chip, which may lead to the destruction of private security key encryption. 

Vulnerability unpatchable means that the vulnerability exists in the hardware rather than the software, so the device that has been shipped may not be able to patch such a vulnerability.

In case you didn't now, Secure Enclave is a security coprocessor that comes with almost every Apple device and provides additional security protection. All data stored on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and other Apple devices are encrypted with a random private key and can only be accessed by Secure Enclave. Those keys are unique to the device and will never be synchronized with iCloud.

Secure Enclave not only encrypts files, but it is also responsible for storing keys for managing sensitive data, such as passwords, credit cards used by Apple Pay, and even a user's biometric data, which could be used to enable Touch ID and Face ID, which can make it easier for hackers to access users’ personal data.

Having full access to the Security Enclave may mean that hackers can access the user's password, credit card information, etc. Noted that this exploit in Secure Enclave affects all A7 and A11 Bionic chip, similar to the checkm8 exploit.

Devices equipped with the Secure Enclave chip:
  • iPhone 5s and higher
  • iPad (5th generation) and higher
  • iPad Air (1st generation) and higher
  • iPad mini 2 and higher
  • iPad Pro
  • Macs with T1 or T2 chip
  • Apple TV HD (4th generation) and higher
  • Apple Watch Series 1 and higher
  • HomePod
Even though Apple has fixed this security exploit with A12 and A13 Bionic chips, there are still millions of Apple devices running on A11 Bionic or older chips that may be affected by this exploit. Nevertheless, as 9to5Mac has pointed out, exploits like this usually require the hacker to have physical access to the device in order to obtain any data, so it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to access your device remotely.

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