NJ teen unlocks iPhone from AT&T network
By PETER SVENSSON
NEW YORK (AP) -- A 17-year-old hacker has broken the lock that ties Apple's iPhone to AT&T's wireless network, freeing the most hyped cell phone ever for use on the networks of other carriers, including overseas ones.
George Hotz of Glen Rock, N.J., confirmed Friday that he had unlocked an iPhone and was using it on T-Mobile's network, the only major U.S. carrier apart from AT&T that is compatible with the iPhone's cellular technology. In a video posted to his blog, he holds an iPhone that displays "T-Mobile" as the carrier.
While the possibility of switching from AT&T to T-Mobile may not be a major development for U.S. consumers, it opens up the iPhone for use on the networks of overseas carriers.
"That's the big thing," said Hotz, in a phone interview from his home.
The phone, which combines an innovative touch-screen interface with the media-playing abilities of the iPod, is sold only in the U.S.
AT&T Inc. spokesman Mark Siegel said the company had no comment, and referred questions to Apple. A call to Apple was not immediately returned. Hotz said the companies had not been in touch with him.
The hack, which Hotz posted Thursday to his blog, is complicated and requires skill with both soldering and software. It takes him about two hours to perform. Since the details are public, it seems likely that a small industry may spring up to buy U.S. iPhones, unlock them and send them overseas.
"That's exactly, like, what I don't want," Hotz said. "I don't want people making money off this."
He said he wished he could make the instructions simpler, so users could modify the phones themselves.
"But that's the simplest I could make them," Hotz said. The next step, he said, would be for someone to develop a way to unlock the phone using only software.
The iPhone has already been made to work on overseas networks using another method, which involves copying information from the Subscriber Identity Module, a small card with a chip that identifies a subscriber to the cell-phone network.
The SIM-chip method does not require any soldering, but does requires special equipment, and it doesn't unlock the phone - each new SIM chip has to be reprogrammed for use on a particular iPhone.
Both hacks leave intact the iPhone's many functions, including a built-in camera and the ability to access Wi-Fi networks. The only thing that won't work is the "visual voicemail" feature, which shows voice messages as if they were incoming e-mail.
Since the details of both hacks are public, Apple may be able to modify the iPhone production line to make new phones invulnerable. The company has said it plans to introduce the phone in Europe this year, but it hasn't set a date or identified carriers.
There is apparently no U.S. law against unlocking cell phones. Last year, the Library of Congress specifically excluded cell-phone unlocking from coverage under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Among other things, the law has been used to prosecute people who modify game consoles to play a wider variety of games.
Hotz collaborated online with four other people, two of them in Russia, to develop the unlocking process.
"Then there are two guys who I think are somewhere U.S.-side," Hotz said. He knows them only by their online handles.
Hotz himself spent about 500 hours on the project since the iPhone went on sale on June 29. On Thursday, he put the unlocked iPhone up for sale on eBay, where the high bid was above $2,000 midday Friday. The model, with 4 gigabytes of memory, sells for $499 new.
"Some of my friends think I wasted my summer but I think it was worth it," he told The Record of Bergen County, which reported Hotz's hack Friday.
Hotz heads for college on Saturday. He plans to major in neuroscience - or "hacking the brain!" as he put it to the newspaper - at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
On the Net:
Hotz' blog: http://iphonejtag.blogspot.com/
Apple iPhone: http://www.apple.com/iphone
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08-24-2007, 02:42 PM #1
NJ teen unlocks iPhone from AT&T networkIf my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
08-24-2007, 02:48 PM #2
and what I love about this story?
It was hacked by someone in NJ (yay go NJ!!!)
and most importantly......
that Apple probably spent millions making AT&T only have the ability to use there phone, only to have all that work undo by a kid who hasn't even graduated high schoolIf my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
08-24-2007, 06:08 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
Maybe if cell phones weren't so much like computers no one would be hacking into them.
Remeber the days of the giant plastic blocks with a telescoping radio antenna sticking out of the top?"Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary
08-24-2007, 06:57 PM #4
The big downside is that i-phones (like i-pods) were already a massive target for theft. Now that there is an unlimited market for these things, and most likely high demand, you will have to handcuff the damn things to your wrist.
08-24-2007, 08:47 PM #5
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Violent iPod attacks on rise in Vancouver
Sunny Freeman, Vancouver Sun
Three men listening to iPods were attacked from behind, struck on the head with a blunt object and robbed of their gadget this past month, police warn.
iPod robberies are on the rise in the city, said Vancouver police spokesman Const. Howard Chow, with investigators reporting at least two files of iPod robberies a week in Vancouver.
View Video Gallery VIDEO: iPod robber sought Email to a friendEmail to a friend
“In all of these cases, they are targeting the iPod,” said Chow, which can fetch about $20 to $30 at pawn shops.
The ubiquitous white earbuds make iPod wearers an easy target for criminals who can easily identify the valuable device, which retail for up to $399.
“They’re so visible, people see the white ear phones and know you’re wearing one and not paying attention. That’s why we’re seeing an escalation of these type of robberies,” Chow said.
Police also know more of these robberies are occurring than are being reported, he added.
All three men escaped with minor injuries.
Police, who believe the three attacks might be linked, are looking for an 18- to 25-year-old white male, standing about 5-foot-8 with short brown hair.
Last Saturday, a 19 year-old Richmond man was attacked by two men at Broadway and Arbutus Street, receiving cuts to the face and a fractured skull.
On July 30, at Crown Street and 23rd Avenue, a 22-year-old Vancouver man was knocked off his bicycle and struck several times for his iPod.
And on July 22, a 21 year-old Vancouver man was struck with a blunt object and robbed at 10th Avenue and Crown Street.
iPod listeners make easy targets for crooks because people can't pay attention to two things at once, said Ron Rensink, a psychology and computer science professor at the University of B.C.
“If you're really into a song then your attention is used for that and can't be used for seeing things around you. You're not as vigilant,” he said.
But some iPod users on Vancouver's streets seem to think they're paying enough attention to their surroundings.
Ava Khavari,15, a student at Collingwood School in Vancouver, was browsing Friday in Sinclair Centre with a green iPod Nano in hand.
“I keep only one (earphone) in my ear and focus on what's around me. I also try to keep my iPod hidden in my pocket,” she said.
City visitor Josh Eisenson, 20, said that as a New Yorker he always has to be aware of surroundings.
But in his home city, police have attributed a nearly 10 per cent increase in subway robberies to thefts of iPods and similar devices in 2006.
And in July 2005, The New York Times reported a 15-year-old was stabbed to death in Brooklyn during an iPod robbery.
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08-24-2007, 11:33 PM #6
To hell with em all.
I still like my rotary phone on my kitchen wall!!
Last edited by Dickey; 08-24-2007 at 11:39 PM.Jason Knecht
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08-25-2007, 02:13 PM #7
They can't unlock my phone
Last edited by len1582; 08-06-2010 at 02:14 PM.
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