While the US government had been fighting Apple in court trying to get access to a password-protected iPhone that belonged to a San Bernardino terrorist who killed fourteen people last year, we know for sure that the government doesn’t really need Apple’s help.
They successfully hacked iPhones before, and they didn’t ask anyone’s permission to do that. In fact, it’s not that hard: they used ready-made tools available on eBay to anyone.
And here’s a shocker: nowadays there are more than 100 million iPhones in the world, and using those tools from eBay, anyone can unlock Apple smartphones. Well, it seems they’re not so smart at all, are they?
Just go to eBay with this link and you’ll find that very same hacking toolbox for mere $200. It’s called IP Box and it looks like, well, a black box that you connect to your (or someone else’s) iPhone. IP Box then ‘brute forces’ the iPhone: it sorts through numerous combinations for PIN and finally gets the right one. Hooray, the iPhone is unlocked!
The only solution for users to somehow protect from hackers’ brute forcing their iPhones is to set up a built-in option to wipe out the phone when someone tried and failed to enter a password 10 times.
But IP Box is still smarter than Apple: after each fail, it shuts down the power to a device being hacked. This way, iPhone doesn’t count the wrong guesses up and eventually, IP Box gets it hacked.
A year ago, MDSec, a British firm specializing in security advice, ran the experiment of unlocking an iPhone 5 with iOS 8.1 and 4-digit PIN in place. They recorded a video of IP Box hacking the iPhone:
Now, Apple states that there are around 23% of devices still running iOS 8 or earlier versions of the software. We can crunch the numbers and get a lower bar of around 102 million smartphones with iOS 8 or earlier on board:
Isn’t it scary that just about anyone can go to eBay, purchase a hacking kit, steal your iPhone and then hack it in a few minutes to get all your precious information?
Imagine all your sensitive bank and credit card credentials going into wrong hands. All your emails and messages. All your digital accounts – all your modern life. Stored in one small piece of plastic, glass, and silicon. Ruined by some teenager with a black box and a laptop.
Stay safe from identity theft, stay away from government’s prying eyes snooping on you and protect yourself from hackers’ attacks by learning more about the modern internet and computer threats in 2016.