At CES this year, Apple had put up a giant ad in Las Vegas near the event venue stating – ‘What happens in your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.’ That was certainly about taking a dig at the privacy concerns and projecting their stand against contemporaries against privacy. That’s because Apple has been firm on their consumers’ privacy, which is why Apple iPhones come with a Secure Enclave Processor (SEP), which helps in encrypting your iPhone securely.
The SEP on the iPhone are hard to crack and cannot be reverse engineered with any tools as well, which is why in 2016, FBI couldn’t be able to get into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c and had eventually taken help of a Cellebrite – a digital security firm to get into that iPhone.
According to a new Motherboard report that involves investigations of hackers and security researchers, it states that hackers were able to use a ‘dev-fused’ or you can say a prototype iPhone to break into Apple’s iOS. The report suggests that these prototype iPhones are being sold in grey markets and these are unfinished phones which have been tested before the production process. The dev-fused phones are most likely less secure with most of the security features disabled, which the report states as pre-jailbroken devices.
For those who’re unaware, Jailbroken iPhones come with an App Store called Cydia where users can sideload multiple numbers of apps and paid apps for free, which Apple doesn’t allow and support their iPhones to be jailbroken in the first place. Do note that Jailbreaking an iPhone certainly voids your warranty.
Now, coming back to the Motherboard report, it states that the earlier mentioned Cellebrite firm provides tools to get into these dev-fused iPhones as they’re less secure and can gain the root access of these pre-production units. This process is surely impossible to crack on a regular iPhone of a consumer – thanks to the SEP. Further, these phones are said to be stolen property and are illegal to use it. However, it is reported that they are widely stolen and are being used by the hackers and security researchers to know more about the possibilities of how the chipsets in the iPhone work and what are the possible vulnerabilities. And eventually, get to know how the consumer-based iPhones and future models can be hacked or what kind of loopholes can be found.
The report further reveals these dev-fused iPhones cost unto $1800, iPhone X, for instance in the grey market and also most of these prototype phones are based in China, where usually the mass production happens in factories like Foxconn. It is believed that Apple has put in efforts to keep these pre-production or prototype iPhones not to leave the factory facility.