iPhone

Hackers gain shell access to iPhone


iPhoneIt has been less than a week since the iPhone's release, and my head is still spinning from all the iPhone unboxing and cracking open galleries. Already, it appears that the hacker crew of IRC #iPhone channel has managed to gain shell access to the iPhone.

As the iPhone's 30-pin dock connector features the same pinouts as the iPod, it was possible to extrapolate from what was already known about the iPod to cobble together a custom connector with just a resistor, ground, and RS-232 level converter. A few commands from iphoneinterface later, and viola, shell access mode.

Whilst the resulting shell is pretty basic, it appears to feature a TFTP client. That's right folks, we're looking at the ability to load custom applications into the iPhone.

Of course, being able to load custom applications is different from actually getting one integrated properly into the iPhone's GUI, as well as getting access to enough of the iPhone's internal functions to be useful. Still, given that the iPhone is based on the OS X, it is just a matter of time.

Additional links:

iPhone hacked for shell access (Engadget)

Original announcement of the hack (Hackint0sh)

Command list for shell

In the meantime, do share with us the kind of applications you would like to see on your iPhone. Join the discussion.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

19 comments
Mas88
Mas88

wow, all I can say is wow. I knew it would happen, but nowadays, most phones can be hacked(just ask most people working at Sprint)

sw.yuen.170
sw.yuen.170

excuse me, did you mean Voila (not viola)?

renecastillo75
renecastillo75

Well it was a matter of time it happens, the impresive thing here, is how fast they managed to gain access to the device shell. May be the security was weakly designed, so that, it was easily defeated.

paulmah
paulmah

In the meantime, do share with us the kind of applications you would like to see on your iPhone

chigozie_onyeuko
chigozie_onyeuko

I do not believe that any body that knows that this goodamn thing runs on soft ware will believe that it can not be attacked by virus. Afteral, what is a virus?. Is it not a soft ware that is aimed at disabling another? At least those that gained accesss to the shell have proved this fact and more are yet to come. Onyeuko Chigozie teddy

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

A moment of intution and a developer suddenly jumps up from there desk defly pulling a large string instroment from beside there chair: "Viola!.. I've done it!"

paulmah
paulmah

I would say that they probably did not expect hackers to approach via this semi-hardware approach perhaps. "Feels" to me like those movies where you jump start the vehicle by "joining the wires" behind the ignition lock. :)

darfar
darfar

A religious library program. Keep hacking! Yippee!!

asgr86
asgr86

Good Work guys, the hacking technology seems to be way faster than what we really expect.

renecastillo75
renecastillo75

In today's world, the developers of this 'gadgets' should consider or at least try to consider, everything specially when the device is intended to be released to the masses. In other words, every person having enough 'bucks' will be able to use this kind of devices at their own will. Fortunately not dangerous applications have appeared yet, to be launched on this kind of devices. Today's hacker are the most impresive persons in the world. Well just as an example, they are the best bet for a firm hiring personal for dicovering/protecting about security vulnerabilities. The 'Mac' guys, should consider seriously to hire a couple of these guys, to improve the security on these devices... lol! Greetings!

DanLM
DanLM

lol, but the "Cult of Mac" cringe every time they are reminded of that. Hehee, and they always say... It's not the same, it's not Unix. Bla bla bla... uhhu, what ever you say. lol Sorry, had to get my little dig in there also. I work with Macs because of this place being a publishing company. And the people love them. It's a solid os. Not saying it can't be hacked, just like I'm not saying FreeBSD can't be hacked. Just that it's solid. Dan p.s. I like that phrase you coined. "The Cult Of Mac", sounds like a horror movie. Mind if I use that again?

jared
jared

I can't decide which is worse... Microphiles who say absurd things like "OSX has fewer viruses because there's fewer machines on the market" or Mac users who pay no attention to security because "I don't use a Windows machine!" Both are, in a word, laughably incorrect. FreeBSD isn't perfect, but it's widely noted to be substantially more secure than other operating systems (as the fractalzoom would know if it weren't so lost in Windows land). Stack on top of FBSD a new layer of security in the Apple additions that go from FreeBSD to Darwin to OSX and you have a genuinely more secure operating system. This isn't my fantasy, nor is it bogus... it's genuinely less vulnerable. Not perfect, though, so OSX users who pretend it is and do NOTHING to project themselves irritate me. I'm one of them... and after 20 years in the industry I should know better. At least I don't leave fully open connections/ports/protocols laying around my machine, and I keep my stuff patched... but that's about it. My regularly used user is an admin-level account, nothings vaulted and, well, I know better, which makes me only slightly more stupid than the folks who don't. ;)

kknepple
kknepple

press and marketing campaign. But still not enough eyeballs. Hackers will do what they do when what they do when they know it will get them some notoriety in the "hacker" community. Apple is just not there, flame away!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Cult of Mac being a little blind and believing the marketing hype; asolutely true. There is a lot of blind brand loyalty in the mac fanboy camp as with any other fanboy. Where your sooo very wrong is in claiming the only reason there are no osX viruses is because Apple is 2% of the market. ** Obscurity does not equal security ** The Unix back end does a great deal to make osX a more solid platform. This is primarily the reason for such a limited success rate for osX viruses. Dan, Please feel free. I honestly can't remember if I used "cult of mac" first or saw it some other place. Either way, I think it fits perfectly with the three fanboy extremes; "Cult of Mac", "Zealot", "MS fanboy"

paulmah
paulmah

(Edited for grammar!) You know, I have of late come across a number of articles/news related to the above. Now if I can just find my sources and throw together another piece just on this... (rummage)

jhogue
jhogue

It has always been true that the Mac userbase was too small to attract serious interest from hackers. Now with the boat load of press on the iPhone that situation will very likely change.

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

I am continually amazed at the naivete of Macophiles who seem to think that the Mac platform is immune to virus attacks. There is no such think as an OS that is invulnerable to viruses. THe only reason that Macs have endured fewer attacks is because they are such a paltry slice of the market. Anyone writing virus code is going to target their efforts where they'll get the most "bang for the buck" - and since the vast majority of computers are running Windows, that's the platform for which most viruses wll be written. Why waste your time writing virus code for a platform used by less than 10% of computers? "NO VIRUS"? Get real!

johnson12
johnson12

...why this would be news. It's Unix and someone can pull up a shell. WOW!

ed.clinkett
ed.clinkett

It is shame if its true, although any good mac support analyst can access the shell of the OS, I don't really think this is a hack at all, we have always been able to access the shell, via some commands nothing new here. I think they are just trying to scare monger everyone into not buying one. After all it is Mac OS with some unix type codes etc, so NO VIRUS attacks as with win mobile etc type devices.