iPhone hack bypasses AT&T
DVD Jon strikes again
Famed reverse engineer Jon Lech Johansen claims to have discovered a way to "activate" an iPhone without signing up for a contract with AT&T. The hack allows users to use the iPod and Wi-Fi capabilities of the devices, but doesn't allow use of its phone features.
DVD Jon - who's been something of a thorn in Apple's side for some time, most notably when he decoded the encryption that locks down iTunes-purchased music - said his latest hack allows potential iPhone purchasers to use the device as a sort of iPod/personal organiser on steroids without entering into a two year contract with AT&T.
He's published a software package called Phone Activation Server v1.0 that automates the hack, while still requiring a fair bit of knowledge about manipulating host files and the like to pull off.
More straightforwardly - though rather less elegantly - users interested in using the device only as a souped-up iPod can activate the iPhone using a prepaid plan with AT&T, which they then cancel.
Since the much-hyped release of the iPhone last week, security researchers and white hat hackers have been hard at work attempting to spot security vulnerabilities in Apple's device. Early probing unearthed ways to subvert the device's browser and uncover passwords hiding in Apple software.
Hackers claim to have discovered a technique for discovering that root and mobile account passwords embedded in the firmware on iPhone handsets. The data came from analysing an Apple iPhone restore image file. Since the iPhone has no console or terminal access, logging into either the "root" or "mobile" account isn't (immediately, at least) possible. The passwords might simply be left over from development work or are a red herring planted deliberately by Apple to put hackers off the scent. ®
RE: You still don't get it, Christopher
@A J Stiles:
"No, Jon has EVERY right to reverse-engineer the iPhone. He bought it, with his own money; by sole virtue of which, he is privy to any secret which may be embodied in it. That is just part of his common-law property rights."
He can jerk around with it all he wants, but when he starts making his 'discoveries' public, well, I'd be surprised if he DOESN'T get contacted by Apple (or AT&T).
Now AJ Stiles -- I am bored with this and will respond no more. Meanwhile I suggest you do some reading on the subject. Start at a legal library.
"So if you buy a new phone every 2 years, not too big a deal, otherwise, limiting. Bad design."
Well, isn't that *precisely* what people do in fact do, replace their phone every 2 years?? (Actually, I thought it was more like every 18 months.) You get to the end of a contract or think your phone is no longer as fashionable as it was so you get out and get a new model for next to nothing at its subsidised price.
I don't think I've ever come close to needing to replace the battery on a phone before the phone itself has stopped working, certainly not on my last 3 or 4 phones.
scratching and value
I was concerned about scratching, but I was impressed by the knife test.
Apple says the screen is made of "optical-quality glass", and doesn't seem to scratch easily (unless you're carrying diamonds in your pocket). Not that I can find out what "optical-quality" means, but it could be an almost pure quartz. Being the perfectionist that he is, I'm surprised that SJ hadn't demanded scratch-resistance for the ipods.
Every portable piece of electronic equipment I have that has a screen has a scratch, and I'm not gung-ho about these things. I just wonder why people only complain about scratching when it comes to Apple products.