Feeds

Hackers saw through iPhone AT&T shackles

But global roaming still some way off

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Hackers have succeeded in (partially) unlocking the iPhone so Apple's much-hyped device can be used on at least one network other than AT&T.

Although the iPhone Development Project team has broken the shackles tying the device and AT&T directly, there are still limitations that mean customers can use pre-paid SIMs from Cingular, for example, but not yet use any SIM of their choice.

A tool called iASign will unlock the iPhone allowing it to be used with any Cingular or AT&T SIM with FULL functionality of the iPhone, avoiding the need to use the iPhone-specific SIM that comes with the device. Virtual network operator pre-paid SIMs also work, providing these operators piggy-back on AT&T's network.

Using alternative SIMs provides several advantages. In the case of a Cingular SIM, there's no need to sign up to a new two-year contract. Those whose businesses subscribe to Cingular can use company SIMs on personally-bought iPhones. Finally, those not wishing to tie themselves to a contract can use pre-paid SIMs.

Hackers have been hard at work trying to unlock the functionality of the iPhone since the devices were released in the US earlier this month. Reverse engineer Jon Lech Johansen (DVD Jon) discovered a way to get iPod and Wi-Fi - though not the phone - features of the device working without signing up to AT&T within three days of its release.

The iPhone Development Project has taken the work further with an ambitious programme of goals, including the ability to unlock the phone (partially achieved with the development of IASign) and run third party applications on the device.

Last year, the US copyright office ruled that it was legal for consumers to unlock their mobile phones in order to use them with other carriers, a decision AT&T and Apple may seek to contest, but one which gives hackers (and commercial firms) some leeway.

Unconfirmed reports suggest an unnamed UK punter succeeded in getting an iPhone bought from eBay working on Vodafone's network, again using the iASign tool.

SIM numbers are network specific and users who've tried a similar trick in Germany and Canada have failed, so we're a bit skeptical that this is a genuine runner. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.