iPhone Hackers Have Been Hacking iPhones With Apple Prototypes


iPhone hackers use dev-fused iPhones that are sold on the grey market to hack into iPhones. Mathew Solnik who is a well-known security researcher spoke at a Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in 2016.


iPhone hackers dev fused iPhones
(Image: Motherboard)


iPhone Hackers Use Dev-Fused iPhones:


Solnik stated that his team had the ability to analyze the iPhone Secure Enclave Processor (SEP). This is responsible for data encryption for the iPhone.


This is amazing that they were able to do this because the SEP is and has always been a closely guarded component of the iPhone.


Solnik has never publicly stated how his team was able to do this.


However, researchers at Motherboard claim that they know how it was done. They claim that during their investigation they discovered how other iPhone hackers were able to research the SEP.


The researchers at Motherboard believe that Solnik’s team was able to successfully hack iPhones by using a dev-fused iPhone.


What Is A Dev-Fused iPhone?


A dev-fused iPhone is an iPhone that was created by Apple for internal use. This phone was made to extract and study the highly secure SEP software.


Dev-fused phones are also known as prototypes in the security research industry. Prototypes are phones that have not completed the production process.


Or phones that have been reverted to a developmental state, these phones are pre-jailbroken phones. Many security features have been disabled on these rare iPhones.


This gives the researchers the ability to hack into them much more easily than an iPhone that is sold in a store.


Some dev-fused iPhones look like normal iPhones. While other’s are mounted on metal frames that give you the ability to open the phone like a book and inspect the internals.


Since Solnik gave his speech at the Black Hat Security conference, more researchers around the world have been using dev-fused iPhones to find unknown iPhone vulnerabilities.


Dev-fused iPhones were never intended to be used by members of the general public. However, they are currently on the grey market being sold for thousands of dollars to security researchers and hackers.


By using the information gathered from examining a dev-fused iPhone, hackers can use what they’ve learned to develop a hack for a normal iPhone that’s owned by a real person.


At the Black Hat security conference, Solnik and two of his colleagues gave a speech in which they explained how the phone’s SEP and application processor communicate via a “secure mailbox, the specific “opcodes which Apple uses to read information from the processor, and “bootflow”.


iPhone hackers learned quite a few new things from that presentation. The main reason why the iPhone is so secure and so difficult to hack is because Apple makes it very difficult to study how the SEP and other key components work.


The SEP operating system is encrypted so theoretically, it cannot be extracted nor reverse engineered from a regular iPhone.


However, these things are possible when using a dev-fused iPhone and this has been repeated by other hackers since Solnik’s speech.


An independent iPhone operating system researcher anonymously stated that Solnik had many dev-fused iPhones at the time he gave the SEP speech.


Solnik and his colleagues were the first ones to study the SEP. But due to the number of dev-fused iPhones that are currently on the market, other hackers have been able to do this as well.


Gone are the days when iPhones were unhackable, now more and more people have been hacking into iPhones than ever before.


If you’re an iPhone user you must take some additional steps to protect yourself from iPhone hackers.



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