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Has the Apple iPhone been unlocked?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
The Hacker news wires are a buzz with reports of furious round the clock attempts to unlock the software code that locks down the iPhone. Just Google "Apple iPhone unlock" and you'll pick up 100s of links. A major Hacker conference is occurrig in a few weeks. Immense credibility in the Hacker community will come to he who can unlock the iPhone.

Can someone knowledgeable in the technology list all the positive and negatives of an unlocked iPhone? Also, with regard to replacement of the SIM card, how easy will that be on an iPhone ?

I am just curious about the art and science of unlocking cell phones not in doing it for myself. Also, I noted that in an article from the Seattle PI that unlocking a cell phone is not illegal. Is this correct?

Thanks.
post #2 of 15
Unlocked iPhone....

--------
Pros:
===
Enormous mind-share, lots of people learning everything they can about the iPhone followed by people doing interesting things that the iPhone doesn't currently do... With luck lots of iPhone developers will grow from this.

Much larger installed base of iPhone users... MANY people simply refuse to leave their current carrier for a number of real reasons... Poor coverage in their specific area, existing contracts they might be under, whatever...

Apple will profit much more thru additional iPhone sales something that wouldn't have happened had it remained carrier-locked.

--------
Cons:
===
AT&T will be pissed off (not that most people will care)

Apple will loose some control over the iPhone...

Much higher risk of something BAD happening (worms, viruses, trojans, etc) for people who choose to install non-apple software on their phone.
--------

All in all I think the inevitable unlocking of the iPhone will provide far more in the way of benefits then it does risks. People who don't want to unlock their phone aren't being forced to... and people who don't want to install UNTRUSTED software that may become available aren't being forced to either... But those of us who WANT TO PLAY ... well unlike now where we are totally prevented from doing so... we will finally be able to.

Dave
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Unlocked iPhone....

--------
Pros:
===
Enormous mind-share, lots of people learning everything they can about the iPhone followed by people doing interesting things that the iPhone doesn't currently do... With luck lots of iPhone developers will grow from this.

Much larger installed base of iPhone users... MANY people simply refuse to leave their current carrier for a number of real reasons... Poor coverage in their specific area, existing contracts they might be under, whatever...

Apple will profit much more thru additional iPhone sales something that wouldn't have happened had it remained carrier-locked.

--------
Cons:
===
AT&T will be pissed off (not that most people will care)

Apple will loose some control over the iPhone...

Much higher risk of something BAD happening (worms, viruses, trojans, etc) for people who choose to install non-apple software on their phone.
--------

All in all I think the inevitable unlocking of the iPhone will provide far more in the way of benefits then it does risks. People who don't want to unlock their phone aren't being forced to... and people who don't want to install UNTRUSTED software that may become available aren't being forced to either... But those of us who WANT TO PLAY ... well unlike now where we are totally prevented from doing so... we will finally be able to.

Dave

Thanks Dave. Good info.

How difficult will the SIM card replacement be? Will a standard SIM card fit?
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Pros:
===
Enormous mind-share, lots of people learning everything they can about the iPhone followed by people doing interesting things that the iPhone doesn't currently do... With luck lots of iPhone developers will grow from this.

Cons:
===
Much higher risk of something BAD happening (worms, viruses, trojans, etc) for people who choose to install non-apple software on their phone.

I am quite sure how SIM unlock correlates to these two possibilities.
post #5 of 15
There's at least two types of unlocks that have to happen with the iPhone. The first is cracking the initial activation of the iPhone so you don't need AT&T / Apple servers to activate your phone.

The activation lock has been defeated by DVD-Jon. There is an article on MacNN which has the link you need to follow for more information. In short, you'll need a Windows computer, a hex editor, iTunes 7.3, and tweak your HOSTS file.

The second unlock would allow the iPhone to work with any SIM, not just the one supplied with the iPhone. This lock hasn't been cracked yet.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Is this article bogus? Thanks.

Excerpt:

The most serious flaw, reported by Errata Security, resides in the iPhone's Safari browser. By effecting a buffer overflow in the application, an attacker can take control of the browser and run code on the device, said Robert Graham, CEO of Errata.


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07...king_progress/
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

I am quite sure how SIM unlock correlates to these two possibilities.

Haven't you been following the 'iPhone Unlocking Wiki' (whatever its called) and the forum over at the hackintosh iphone forums?? They have compiled what seems to be a quite impressive group of individuals who are tearing into all aspects of the iPhone and how its software and activation processes are wired. Then we even have DVD Jon getting into the act with his own 'iPhone Activator' that will allow up to 'fake' the activation (so the iPhone can be used for Wifi iPod etc (but no AT&T contract and no phone service).

The only way they are ever going to succeed in unlocking it is by getting into it's file system and once thats done (has just now happened BTW) people will be able to load ring-tones and further down the road their own custom written applications... While all of this is going on other people will continue their digging until they get the hook that will tell the phone to not care what SIM is in it. (aka unlocked).

Dave
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by PBG4 Dude View Post

There's at least two types of unlocks that have to happen with the iPhone. The first is cracking the initial activation of the iPhone so you don't need AT&T / Apple servers to activate your phone.

The activation lock has been defeated by DVD-Jon. There is an article on MacNN which has the link you need to follow for more information. In short, you'll need a Windows computer, a hex editor, iTunes 7.3, and tweak your HOSTS file.

The second unlock would allow the iPhone to work with any SIM, not just the one supplied with the iPhone. This lock hasn't been cracked yet.

While DVD Jon's method requires windows.... another activator has been developed by folks over at the unlocking iphone wiki and it's main web forum thats hosted @ the hackintosh forums that will run on OS X **and** some in those forums have ported DVD Jons C# code over to Java so you can run it on a Mac too....

Dave
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post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

Thanks Dave. Good info. How difficult will the SIM card replacement be? Will a standard SIM card fit?

The iPhone uses a standard SIM... The same SIM thats used in any other GSM phone... and to swap them you'd simply need a paper-clip to pop the little sim slot 'out/open'.

Just remember... the iPhone isn't 'cracked' just yet... people are making good progress and I wouldn't be shocked if it happens sometime in the next week... maybe sooner... but who knows... they still have quite a bit they need to figure out still.

Dave
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post #10 of 15
Oh that iPhone Dev Wiki.... I found the url: http://iphone.fiveforty.net/wiki/ind...itle=Main_Page

AND here goes their latest update... (as I said above... its looking like they are making more progress)

Quote:
5 July 2007 8:15pm Update

So, it looks like I was a little premature about some things. We can run any file, we can start and stop things on iPhone at will, we can get files on the phone and put them where ever we like, and we can get into the bootloader and commands are successful (though we can't read the output yet). We have essentially totally reversed the restore process and totally own several things on the phone. Our technique is based around doing interesting things with restore, and while I can't publish any code yet, I promise you we will put some information up tonight when we get finished hacking. We will also still do a major tonight, as promised.

Tomorrow will bring some more work on the tool we are releasing, which will allow you to do much more with the phone. I cannot stress enough how close we are to the internals of the phone, and the closer we get, the more opportunity we have to mess with the unlock functions themselves.

With that said, I am moving on to that portion of the effort myself while the other guys work on this, so that when they are done, I can have some clearly formed ideas. I do believe it is reversible by Apple but I think we may be able to recover from that reversal and I doubt they will stop us at this point, since we are in capabilities very important to the phone. To "re-engineer them" would be a pretty significant effort, in my opinion.

Guys, I cannot stress enough how absolutely revolutionary some of these advances have been in the past 20 minutes. What we can do is leaps and bounds ahead of where we were previous to that.

I will be in touch tonight closer to the release - I am NOT answering any more questions until then. These guys need to work and I need to think so i'll be back.

Dave
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Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Oh that iPhone Dev Wiki.... I found the url: http://iphone.fiveforty.net/wiki/ind...itle=Main_Page

AND here goes their latest update... (as I said above... its looking like they are making more progress)



Dave

Dave/Anyone,

When the Hacker groups complete a total unlocking process/procedure, will that automatically equate to exposing any and all security vulnerabilities in the iPhone?

Thanks
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

Dave/Anyone,

When the Hacker groups complete a total unlocking process/procedure, will that automatically equate to exposing any and all security vulnerabilities in the iPhone?

Thanks

Automatically... I could give you an unequivocal YES! but it pretty safe to assume that the level of details that will (need to) be know about the inner-workings of the iPhone to successfully unlock it will certainly be a 'leg up' to people who are thinking about doing I'll will to our beloved iPhone.

We can do 1 of 2 things...

1 - BE SAFE and not give into temptation of installing some non-approved 3rd party software from an untrusted source.

2 - BE very careful what 3rd party apps you DO install on your iPhone and hope for the best!

Do I think any of that unlocking activity will in any way endanger 'normal off the shelf iPhones' --- No I wouldn't think so...

Dave
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Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Automatically... I could give you an unequivocal YES! but it pretty safe to assume that the level of details that will (need to) be know about the inner-workings of the iPhone to successfully unlock it will certainly be a 'leg up' to people who are thinking about doing I'll will to our beloved iPhone.

We can do 1 of 2 things...

1 - BE SAFE and not give into temptation of installing some non-approved 3rd party software from an untrusted source.

2 - BE very careful what you 3rd party apps you DO install on your iPhone and hope for the best!

Do I think any of that unlocking activity will in any way endanger 'normal off the shelf iPhones' --- No I wouldn't think so...

Dave

Thanks for the info, Dave.

Has a Blackberry ever been hacked? Or is that irrelevant because BBs are primarily used on ultra-secure networks like Blackberry Exchange Server (BES)? If so, should the iPhone ever be used on an equally secure network, will the current hack be irrelevant?
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

Thanks for the info, Dave.

Has a Blackberry ever been hacked? Or is that irrelevant because BBs are primarily used on ultra-secure networks like Blackberry Exchange Server (BES)? If so, should the iPhone ever be used on an equally secure network, will the current hack be irrelevant?

Blackberry an ultra-secure network? No... blackberry travels over the plain-old ordinary cell phone networks we all use... Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc... It uses open standard technologies such as Triple DES and now AES encryption... so yes it is secure but no more secure then any other technology that utilizes such technologies and it's not what you'd call a 'Network' as much as a protocol. As for protocols... Apple supports POP & IMAP for email at this time... clearly not the most secure email technologies but they have an ENORMOUS installed base and Apple would be remiss if it didn't support them... they could easily invent their own 'ultra-secure' protocol but then they'd be blamed for 'reinventing the wheel' where as it was fine when Microsoft did it with their Exchange protocol and RIM did it with their Blackberry... anyway... it would be nuts for Apple to openly compete with Exchange and Blackberry they are both entrenched in email and the best Apple could do is negotiate with MS and RIM to potentially support those existing (more secure) protocols in the iPhone... Many people are assuming 'full exchange support' is where Apple will look but wouldn't it be more interesting if they were negotiating with both MS **AND** RIM and turned around and scored a deal with RIM instead?!?!

I have no idea how likely such a deal would be but it would sure shake things up...

Edit... I did a quick google search and someone else beat me to this line of thinking... (not surprised)

http://www.gadgetell.com/2007/04/how...or-the-iphone/

Dave
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Blackberry an ultra-secure network? No... blackberry travels over the plain-old ordinary cell phone networks we all use... Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc... It uses open standard technologies such as Triple DES and now AES encryption... so yes it is secure but no more secure then any other technology that utilizes such technologies and it's not what you'd call a 'Network' as much as a protocol. As for protocols... Apple supports POP & IMAP for email at this time... clearly not the most secure email technologies but they have an ENORMOUS installed base and Apple would be remiss if it didn't support them... they could easily invent their own 'ultra-secure' protocol but then they'd be blamed for 'reinventing the wheel' where as it was fine when Microsoft did it with their Exchange protocol and RIM did it with their Blackberry... anyway... it would be nuts for Apple to openly compete with Exchange and Blackberry they are both entrenched in email and the best Apple could do is negotiate with MS and RIM to potentially support those existing (more secure) protocols in the iPhone... Many people are assuming 'full exchange support' is where Apple will look but wouldn't it be more interesting if they were negotiating with both MS **AND** RIM and turned around and scored a deal with RIM instead?!?!

I have no idea how likely such a deal would be but it would sure shake things up...

Edit... I did a quick google search and someone else beat me to this line of thinking... (not surprised)

http://www.gadgetell.com/2007/04/how...or-the-iphone/

Dave

Thanks again Dave for clarifying that issue for me. Your posts are quite valuable to me and I think many others on the board.
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