From time to time, miraculous tools promising to unlock iPhones and other Apple devices emerge, causing turmoil in the tech world – the latest case dealing with Cellebrite handsets, which are being sold on eBay at a bargain price.
With each such case, one question stands out: How can the professionals behind these devices find so many loopholes on iOS? Now the Motherboard may have an answer.
The digital magazine has published a report exposing the use by hackers, crackers and security researchers of iPhone preproduction units to uncover secrets, breaches and flaws in the construction of the device and iOS.
These devices have several security features disabled and theoretically should not leave Cupertino's holdings one way or another, however, they find their way out into the outside world (almost always smuggled out of iPhone production lines in China). ) and are sold for thousands of dollars in parallel markets.
THE Motherboard obtained some units of these devices, which look like normal iPhones with the exception of some elements among them, a QR code and a barcode on the back, as well as a decal displaying the Foxconn brand, Apple's partner that assembles the devices. . The system, however, is totally different: when turning on the preproduction iPhones, which displays a command terminal, through which the user can execute codes and explore the "guts" of the device and the system.
According to the report, companies like Cellebrite and Grayshift have already purchased some units of these prototype iPhones to make their unlocking tools; A few years ago, devices like these were used by researchers to explore the Secure Enclave (which on “ordinary” iPhones, protected under multiple layers of encryption) and uncover secrets about Apple's biometric security system.
The price of prototypes scares: Motherboard came across a pre-production unit of the iPhone X Being sold in the parallel market for $ 1,800, its salesman even claimed to have sold other units of the device to security researchers and the like. J an equivalent copy of iPhone XR has been found to sell for no less than $ 20,000!
Apparently Apple is "well aware" of the problem and is implementing new actions to prevent these devices from leaving their supply chain and falling into the wrong hands; Nevertheless, it is impossible to have absolute control over such a formidable production line and on the other side of the world.
Let's look at the next chapters of this story.