How law enforcement's iPhone crackers keep their secrets

GrayKey is an iPhone cracking toolkit sold to law enforcement by Grayshift, a company specializing in forensic extraction. Through public record requests, Vice obtained examples of the legal agreements it uses to keep its technology secret.

"Without limiting and foregoing, you acknowledge and agree that you will not disclose the existence of any GrayKey features and solutions designed to circumvent USB Restricted Mode released in iOS 11.4.1 and updated throughout future iOS versions made available to you on or about the date hereof," one section reads.

Governments and government agents have tried to keep even their use of the software a secret, though in at least these cases it ultimately failed.

"I am requesting a public records exemption to disclosure for the purchase of the GrayKey system for the Digital Forensics Lab," a City of Orlando law enforcement official wrote to the chief of police in 2018, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Motherboard. "This will prohibit Purchasing from posting notice of the purchase and disclosing acquisition of this system. This will assist in protecting our forensic examination techniques, and capabilities."

Among other things, a well-timed reminder that if a backdoor exists the lock will inevitably be picked, and the picker will do all they can to prevent you even knowing the door was opened.