A $20,000 iPhone and $2,000 USB cable are all you need to hack iOS

If you’ve received the talents, then spending a number of grand on a particular kind of iPhone or iPad and a particular USB-cable could also be sufficient to really hack the iPhone and expose all of its secrets and techniques. That’s not to say that it’s straightforward or authorized to achieve this, however an enormous investigation reveals particulars about the underworld of iPhone hacking, which seems to be a flourishing and profitable enterprise.

Priced at round $2,000 on the grey market, the proprietary Apple USB cable you need known as Kanzi, and it’s the one one which you can use to entry particular information buried in an iPhone, as soon as you join it to a laptop. According to Motherboard’s months-long investigation, you additionally need to purchase developer-fused iPhones that may value you 4 or 5 figures — the iPhone 6 is $1,300, the iPhone 8 Plus prices $5,000, and the iPhone XR is a whopping $20,000.

These dev-fused units are particular varieties of iPhones that are used for testing and debugging functions. Thus, the iPhones wouldn’t have all the usual software program defenses enabled, and safety researchers would find a way to be taught a few of the secrets and techniques hidden behind the safety in iOS.

Dev-fused iPhones that had been by no means supposed to escape Apple’s manufacturing pipeline have made their method to the grey market, the place smugglers and middlemen promote them for 1000’s of {dollars} to hackers and safety researchers. Using the data gleaned from probing a dev-fused system, researchers can typically parlay what they’ve discovered into growing a hack for the conventional iPhones tons of of tens of millions of individuals personal.

Comparatively, the iPhone that you purchase in shops is “prod-fused,” which implies it may possibly’t supply hackers entry to the particular dev mode. Here’s how one former Apple worker described it:

Prod fused means there’s a selected pin on the board that’s ‘blown’ within the manufacturing section. The board checks that pin to see if the system is prod or not. If it isn’t, and the firmware is dev model, then sure options are enabled.

While Apple has been attempting its finest not to lose entry to any of the dev-fused telephones it has made through the years, it seems like there’s a thriving black marketplace for them and you can simply discover a mannequin to swimsuit your wants.

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