Feeds

Hackers saw through iPhone AT&T shackles

But global roaming still some way off

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.