Iphone News: August 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nokia takes on the iPhone

LONDON: In the same converted 19th-century fish market where Apple three years ago announced the European introduction of its iTunes music store, Nokia said Wednesday that it would soon introduce its own digital music service, along with an easier-to-use, Apple-style mobile interface and an Apple-style touch screen handset.
The Nokia Music Store, scheduled to open later this year, would let users download songs from the Internet to their computers or directly to mobile phones, over wireless networks, which is a feat that Apple's recently released iPhone cannot do.
Analysts said the move heightened the rivalry between Nokia and Apple at the high end of the mobile phone business. "It was obviously going straight at Apple," said Seamus McAteer, senior analyst at M:Metrics, a research firm.
While Nokia executives chose suits and ties rather than the black mock turtlenecks and blue jeans favored by Steve Jobs, the Apple chief executive, they acknowledged that Nokia was not above imitating its new competitor.
"I don't know what is copying and what is original but if there is something good in the world, we copy it with pride," said Anssi Vanjoki, head of the Nokia multimedia division, which makes the company's high-end handsets, when asked about similarities between the iPhone, iTunes and the new devices and services announced by Nokia.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Teen who unlocked iPhone gets car, job

A Louisville company that repairs cell phones will give a consulting job and a $40,000 car to a teenage computer hacker who spent his summer "unlocking" an iPhone.
Working with a team of other techies around the world, 17-year-old George Hotz of Glen Rock, N.J., spent an estimated 500 hours reconfiguring the iPhone so it can be used with wireless providers other than AT&T.
The device so far is available only in the United States through an exclusive two-year service agreement with AT&T. Officials with both AT&T and Apple, which makes the iPhone, have not commented about Hotz's unlocking project.
He made international news when he unveiled the results of the project on his blog Thursday, and it wasn't long before officials with Louisville-based CertiCell were in touch.
Hotz announced on his blog that he would trade an unlocked version of the phone to CertiCell in exchange for a "sweet" new silver Nissan 350Z, a consulting job and three unmodified iPhones.

Monday, August 27, 2007

IPhone Unlocking: One Real Method, Two Vaporware

The iPhone unlocking game heated up considerable over the weekend with no less than three people/groups claiming to have unlocked the coveted Apple device. The first and most impressive iphone unlock comes from a New Jersey teenager and involves soldering, but most definitely works.
Shortly after that came word from Engadget that the somewhat questionable outfit iPhone Sim Free had succseed with one software only SIM Unlock
(Engadget claims to have an iPhone that was successfully unlocked).
Engadget has also reported that has a Software SIM unlock situation
, though personally I think this one is a scam. For one thing consists of a thrown together Wordpress blog that looks like it took about thirty seconds to set up. But most tellingly the group has failed to release their software when they said they would.
The group claims: “The sale of unlocking codes is on hold after the company received a telephone call from a Menlo Park, California, law firm at approximately 2:54 a.m. this morning (GMT).”
The idea that a lawyer would be so concerned about the software as to call at three A.M. is doubtful. Couple this with the fact that there is very little legal ground for suing over unlocking software and there's some good reasons to doubt iphoneunlocking.
The DMCA doesn’t cover unlocking phones, in fact it explicitly okays the practice which means AT&T would have little legal ground to stand on and the company is probably aware of that.
Among the exemptions added to the DMCA last year is one that covers: “Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.”
What about the iPhone Sim Free hack? Engadget is pretty adamant that it works, the iPhone Sim Free folks unlocked one of their iPhones, which led Engadget to throw some bold tags around this statement: “Again: we can confirm with 100% certainty that’s software solution completely SIM unlocks the iPhone, is restore-resistant, and should make the iPhone fully functional for users outside of the US.”
If it does indeed survive software updates and even a full restore, this would appear to be the ticket for those looking to drop the AT&T shackles, but for the time being, iPhone Sim Free doesn’t have anything publicly available for testing — in other news, we hear the new Duke Nukem Forever is going to kick ass.
If you’re looking to unlock your iPhone today, you’ll have to grab a soldering iron and give George Holt’s SIM cracking method a try.

A team of computer security consultants say they have found a flaw in Apple’s wildly popular iPhone that allows them to take control of the device.

The researchers, working for Independent Security Evaluators, a company that tests its clients’ computer security by hacking it, said that they could take control of iPhones through a WiFi connection or by tricking users into going to a Web site that contains malicious code. The hack, the first reported, allowed them to tap the wealth of personal information the phones contain.
Although Apple built considerable security measures into its device, said Charles A. Miller, the principal security analyst for the firm, “Once you did manage to find a hole, you were in complete control.” The firm, based in Baltimore, alerted Apple about the vulnerability this week and recommended a software patch that could solve the problem.
A spokeswoman for Apple, Lynn Fox, said, “Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users.”
“We’re looking into the report submitted by I.S.E. and always welcome feedback on how to improve our security,” she said.
There is no evidence that this flaw had been exploited or that users had been affected.
Dr. Miller, a former employee of the
National Security Agency who has a doctorate in computer science, demonstrated the hack to a reporter by using his iPhone’s Web browser to visit a Web site of his own design.
Once he was there, the site injected a bit of code into the iPhone that then took over the phone. The phone promptly followed instructions to transmit a set of files to the attacking computer that included recent text messages — including one that had been sent to the reporter’s cellphone moments before — as well as telephone contacts and e-mail addresses.
“We can get any file we want,” he said. Potentially, he added, the attack could be used to program the phone to make calls, running up large bills or even turning it into a portable bugging device.
Steven M. Bellovin, a professor of computer science at
Columbia University, said, “This looks like a very genuine hack.” Mr. Bellovin, who was for many years a computer security expert at AT&T Labs Research, said the vulnerability of the iPhone was an inevitable result of the long-anticipated convergence of computing and telephony.
“We’ve been hearing for a few years now that viruses and worms were going to be a problem on cellphones as they became a little more powerful, and we’re there,” he said. The iPhone is a full-fledged computer, he noted, “and sure enough, it’s got computer-grade problems.”
He said he suspected that phones based on the Windows mobile operating system would be similarly “attackable,” though he had not yet heard of any attacks.
“It’s not the end of the world; it’s not the end of the iPhone,” he said, any more than the regular revelations of vulnerabilities in computer browser software have killed off computing. “It is a sign that you cannot let down your guard. It is a sign that we need to build software and systems better.”
Details on the vulnerability, but not a step-by-step guide to hacking the phone, can be found at, which the researchers said would be unveiled today.
Hackers around the world have been trying to unveil the secrets of the iPhone since its release last month; most have focused their efforts on unlocking the phone from its sole wireless provider, AT&T, and getting unauthorized programs to run on it. The iPhone is a closed system that cannot accept outside programs and can be used only with the AT&T wireless network.
Some of those hackers have posted bulletins of their progress on the Web. A posting went up on Friday that a hacker going by the name of “Nightwatch” had created and started an independent program on the phone.
The Independent Security Evaluators researchers were able to crack the phone’s software in a week, said Aviel D. Rubin, the firm’s founder and the technical director of the Information Security Institute at
Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Rubin, who bought an iPhone the day after the cellphone was released, said in an interview that he had approached three colleagues, Dr. Miller, Joshua Mason and Jake Honoroff, and offered them an enticing prize if they would try to crack the iPhone. “I told the guys I would buy them iPhones.”
Dr. Miller had already been exploring weaknesses in the computer versions of Safari, Apple’s Web browser, and was planning to reveal that vulnerability, a relatively common kind of flaw known as a buffer overflow, at the Black Hat computer security conference next month. Dr. Miller instantly thought to see whether the phone, which uses a version of Safari, would be as vulnerable.
Mr. Rubin said the research was not intended to show that the iPhone was necessarily more vulnerable to hacking than other phones, or that Apple products were less secure than those from other companies. “Anything as complex as a computer — which is what this phone is — is going to have vulnerabilities,” he said.
There are far more viruses, worms and other malicious software affecting Windows systems than Apple systems. But Mr. Rubin said that Apple products have drawn fewer attacks because the computers have fewer users, and hackers reach for the greatest impact.
“Windows gets hacked all the time not because it is more insecure than Apple, but because 95 percent of computer users are on Windows,” he said. “The other 5 percent have enjoyed a honeymoon that will eventually come to an end.”
The iPhone is becoming a victim of its own success, he said. “The irony is that the more popular something is, the more insecure it becomes, because popularity paints a large target on its back.”
Mr. Rubin said his goal was to discover vulnerabilities and warn of them so that companies would strengthen their products and consumers would not be lulled into thinking that the technology they use was completely secure.
Mr. Rubin said, “I will think twice before getting on a random public WiFi network now,” but his overall opinion of the phone has not changed.
“You’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands to get it away from me,” he said.

Iphone Unlocked