Apple’s stolen dev-fused iPhone prototypes reportedly used for hacking into iOS

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Mar 08 2019
Apple’s stolen dev-fused iPhone prototypes reportedly used for hacking into iOS
HIGHLIGHTS

As per a report, some of the most prominent iOS hackers have made use of prototype iPhones to break into iOS.

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Highlights:

  • Hackers reportedly make use of “dev-fused” prototype iPhones to break into Apple’s iOS.
  • These dev-fused devices are less secure and are lifted before being done with the production process.
  • Gaining root access to these pre-production iPhones is said to be much easier.

 

If you are an iPhone user, chances are that you know about Cydia, the jailbroken app store for iPhone and iPads. While Jailbreaking is a type of hack that is mostly used to sideload paid apps for free, there are other types of hacks as well. Hacks that are either much more problematic or useful, depending on which side of the hack one is in. Apple phones come with a Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) that encrypts sensitive data on the phone and is set-up as a separate entity. Motherboard investigated how some of the best hackers were able to get study the chip and the answer is said to be a “dev-fused” iPhone, which is an iPhone that was lifted before finishing the production process.

As per the report, these dev-fused iPhones are pre-jailbroken devices in which many security features are disabled. This is so that researchers can test them easily but these devices were never intended to get out of Apple’s reach. Motherboard reports that since Apple’s production pipelines have reached the grey market, middlemen and smugglers sell them for a substantial amount to security researchers and hackers. Gaining root access to these pre-production iPhones is said to be way easier than doing the same on a commercially available iPhone. 

iPhones are difficult to hack into because of the Secure Enclave Processor. It is also difficult to follow the standard reverse engineering route to obtain access or understand its workings. However, this is apparently possible using a dev-fused iPhone and they are said to be widely used for hacking iPhones by looking for zero-day vulnerabilities. Citing sources from the iPhone hacking community, Motherboard reports that Cellebrite, a digital forensic firm that offers tools to unlock and break into iPhones has purchased and used dev-fused devices to develop its products. You can learn more about this in detail in the Motherboard’s story

Related Reads:

Google Chrome's zero-day vulnerability could let the attacker gain full control of your system, here's how to stay safe

16-year-old admits to hacking Apple's computer systems: Reports

Next iOS general release will render tools used by police to hack iPhones useless

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