Unauthorized third-party Lightning authentication chips reportedly in production

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
An image published on Monday showed what is claimed to be a number of non-approved Lightning authentication chips, suggesting that unauthorized third-party accessories may hit store shelves before Apple's own partners are able to produce their own products.

Lightning Security
Alleged unauthorized Lightning authentication chips. | Source: Apple.pro via BGR


With Lightning cables and adapters already in short supply from Apple, currently the only producer of said accessories, many unlicensed third-party manufacturers have been looking to take advantage of the situation, though the connector's security chip proved to be an effective deterrent against such production.

Apple's security measures may have been cracked, however, as Apple.pro (via BGR) posted an image of what it claims to be "third party non-approved authentication chips" for Lightning cables.

According to the source of the photo, there are currently "multiple versions" of the unauthorized chip being produced in China, possibly pointing to the imminent release of inexpensive accessories.

If legitimate, the unauthorized authentication chips pose a serious threat to Apple's own "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" partners, as the unlicensed accessories would be on the market well before official MFI products. Apple is scheduled to discuss Lightning's terms of use with MFI manufacturers in November, and it is unclear if the third-parties will be able to make accessories in time for the holiday shopping season.

AppleInsider was first to report that Apple was presumedly using authentication chips in its new 30-pin dock connector replacement, with the discovery seemingly confirmed by a teardown of the Lightning port by Chipworks. In the investigation, the analysis firm found that the embedded authentication chip uses security technology seen in printer cartridges, which was declared to offer "just enough" security for the time being.

A report in early October suggested that Apple's chip had been reverse engineered, though the rumor failed to yield any products.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    YES!
    Need some kind of accessories
  • Reply 2 of 40


    Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

    YES!

    Need some kind of accessories


     


    NO!

    But I'd prefer they not fry my devices or break in a week.

  • Reply 3 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    NVM
  • Reply 4 of 40
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member


    FWIW, my Verizon store has plenty of stock of the USB/Lightning charging cables.

  • Reply 5 of 40

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    NO!

    But I'd prefer they not fry my devices or break in a week.



     


    never had trouble with the ones i got for my iphone 4, charges it nicely, everytime, for says 900+ times? (over 2.2 years ish)


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    FWIW, my Verizon store has plenty of stock of the USB/Lightning charging cables.



    They are fine, itd just be nice to pay 5-10 bucks for a quality cable, not 20 or 30   whatever they cost (i know its 30 for the adapter)

  • Reply 6 of 40
    cmauscmaus Posts: 49member
    Let that cheap shit burn!
  • Reply 7 of 40


    It would be crazy though if iOS would be able to record that an unathorized cord was connected


    i'll wait and see if thats true lol

  • Reply 8 of 40


    Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

    It would be crazy though if iOS would be able to record that an unathorized cord was connected


     


    It could be iTunes/Palm all over again.

  • Reply 9 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.

  • Reply 10 of 40
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    "If legitimate ..."

    How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"

    You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,239member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    "If legitimate ..."

    How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"

    You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.


    The picture, the source, the claim.


     


    Not the product.

  • Reply 12 of 40
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Seankill View Post


    They are fine, itd just be nice to pay 5-10 bucks for a quality cable, not 20 or 30   whatever they cost (i know its 30 for the adapter)



     


    I think we paid $19 for the real deal.

  • Reply 13 of 40
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post


    The picture, the source, the claim.


     


    Not the product.



    It still wasn't clear what the particular "legitimate" was referring to and there were many other words that could have been used.  

  • Reply 14 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I agree 100%. I've seen nothing to indicate this is an authentication chip. Lots if speculation of course but no solid facts. If anything it would be in Apples best interest to loosen up a bit with respect to Mfi. Now they don't appear to be doing that but yet there is no evidence of an authentication process here.

    Frankly we really don't know much at all about this interface, it's capability, speeds or anything else.
    nagromme wrote: »
    Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    I haven't bought a legit Apple accessory since I got my 3G and I would plan to start now. I mean $20 for a cables, I can buy 10 cables for $10, sure some may break soon, but I'll still come out ahead. And its not like the original apple cables are something special, I mean 1 year in a car or backpack and something will happen to them. I seriously wouldn't be able to afford an iPHone if I just bought Apple products.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,823member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    "If legitimate ..."

    How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"


    I believe they meant "legitimate" in the Todd Akin sense of the word.

  • Reply 17 of 40
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    "If legitimate ..."

    How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"

    You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.


     


    Here's another word, "pedantic".


     


    It's not necessarily illegal to reverse engineer something like this.  If the engineers were just given the specs for what was needed, and never even saw the Lightning connector; and if they developed chips according to those specs that worked, then yes, these chips could be considered legal... and legitimate (though not to the source).

  • Reply 18 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    nagromme wrote: »
    Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.

    There is absolutely nothing that points to this being an authentication chip but I guess that makes it easier to get page hits.
  • Reply 19 of 40

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


     


    I think we paid $19 for the real deal.



    True, just for the cord though.


    Just saying, everyone on here seems to think that just because they aren't "Apple Approved", means that they suck (i am sure some do).


    My mom, girlfriend, and I all used cords that were not "Apple Quality" for our iphone 4s, so probably a combined 2500 charges over 2ish years, we all three still have our iphone 4s as backup phones and ipods. So just saying, i also have to note, that we had cords from 3 different suppliers.


     


    Though the lightning cord is a much different cord. Will be interesting to see how they work. I will wait for some feedback first lol

  • Reply 20 of 40
    td912td912 Posts: 25member


    I'm not sure why everybody's calling it some sort of "security authentication chip." It started when some random guy decided to pry apart the cable, saw a chip in there, and assumed it was some kind of DRM chip.


     


    It's an active cable, just like Thunderbolt. Instead of having 30 pins that are rarely used and take up extra space, Apple moved some circuitry outside of the device and now has 9 pins that that auto-configure themselves and can do multiple things based on whatever's plugged into it. The chip just helps to tells the iDevice what the pins are supposed to do when something gets plugged in.


     


    Apple does have other methods of "authentication," but that chip isn't one of them.


     


     


    Also an interesting read: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/14

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