|Teenage hacker unlocks the
New Jersey teenager has unlocked the iPhone,
opening the way to Apple's iconic mobile
telephone being used by non-US networks.
The Associated Press news
agency confirmed George Hotz, 17, had unlocked
the iPhone and used it on T-Mobile, a rival to
its sole US operator, AT&T.
The hacker says the unlocking
takes about two hours and involves some soldering
and skill with software.
AT&T and Apple have not yet
commented on the news.
Hackers and security
researchers have been poring over Apple's
much-coveted phone since its launch in the US in
June in an effort to discover vulnerabilities in
Top of their list has been
cracking the code that ties the phone to
AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive network.
Before George Hotz's
announcement on his blog, the iPhone was made to
work on overseas networks using another method,
which involves copying information from the Sim
(Subscriber Identity Module) card.
However, special equipment was
needed and the actual phone was not unlocked,
with each Sim card having to be reprogrammed for
use on a particular iPhone.
Analysts believe Apple may
still have time to modify the iPhone production
line to make new phones invulnerable to the hacks
before the iPhone's expected European launch
later this year.
The young hacker says he hopes
phone-owners can eventually unlock their phones
by themselves, and that he hopes his discovery
will not be exploited for commercial gain.
"That's exactly, like,
what I don't want... people making money off
this," he told AP.
The next step, he said, would
be a non-solder solution: a way to unlock the
phone using software alone.
Technology blog Engadget said
on Friday that it had successfully unlocked an
iPhone using a different method that required no
tinkering with the hardware. The software was
supplied by an anonymous group of hackers that
apparently plans to charge for it, AP reports.
The agency notes that both the
Hotz and Sim techniques leave the iPhone's many
functions intact apart from its "visual
voicemail" feature, which shows voice
messages as if they are incoming e-mail.
The New Jersey hacker says he
collaborated online with four other people, two
of them in Russia, to develop the unlocking
He spent about 500 hours on the
project since the launch on 29 June.
"Some of my friends think
I wasted my summer but I think it was worth
it," he told US newspaper The Record of