iPhone DevTeam Member Warns Against iPhone 3G SIM Card Hacks

A member of the iPhone DevTeam -- you may know them from a little thing like Pwnage and the new QuickPwn -- has uncharacteristically issued a warning AGAINST unlocking the iPhone 3G. At least not with a hardware-based SIM card hack.

Are they suddenly becoming fans of handset lock-ins? Bias against hardware in favor of their own (still pending) software solution?

The coder notes that the modern 3G baseband chip has been designed around SIM-based hardware hacks, and so any attempt at them must use fake identifiers. This information is said to "leak" into cellular networks, generating errors. While a hack could in theory work under this scheme, the errors are recorded by telecom companies, and may be considered tampering in a company's network. In countries like Germany, as a result, a person could allegedly face up to three years in prison, and in the US, it may fall under legislation designed to combat terrorism.

Yowzers! Sounds triple-panicky harsh, and the hyperbole alarms would be going off, if it didn't seem like jaywalking was a Gitmo-able offense these days.

So, is this for realz, or just a scare? Anyone still want to risk a SIM hack?

(Thanks Bad Ash for the tip!)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Yeah, I guess that would scare me-jail time to use another network or having the FBI on my tail doesn't seem worth it-especially in the USA since T-Mobile doesn't do 3-G anyway.
    If I want to switch to T-Mo-I would get a 1st gen phone I guess.
  • It does not matter just unlock the iphone with the SIM Card
    because that is all you are doing.
    You wont go to jail for just doing that.
    Even if the FBI checks you out they will find nothing.
  • Apparently in Germany you CAN go to jail... re-read the article.
    And I don't know about anyone else-but I really do not want to give the FBI any reason to check me out-I have nothing to hide. That being said, they should be spending their time on people who DO.
  • Sorry but this is all bogus, probably even a FUD attack coming from some guy of the Devteam, if it is not even an urban legend, as there is no "official" statement from the devteam at all.
    You will definitely not go to jail in Germany for doing so, at the maximum you'll get a fine, if at all. Here in Europe we lawyers know a thing called proportionality principle, i.e., if you do something completely insignificant to the rest of the world like hacking your phone, you're not going to be bang-bang-bang-you're-a-terrorist-and-will-immediately-be-sent-to-Guantanamo'ed like you might be on the other side of the Pond in Bush-land, but you're probably going to get a call from your service provider to stop using this device first... Do you really believe a European access provider would like to have the negative publicity of his users being fined?
  • That is crazy. The FBI should investigate both hardware and software iphone hack if they want it to. Why the FBI want to go after the obvious one? Maybe they should go after the Dev Team for making a well hidden software to get into other phone network?
  • You are not tampering with a company's network by unlocking your phone like angelito said. The phone is yours and all you are doing is connecting it to another provider. If you were actually changing or hacking something within the network that would be different.
  • whats important... fighting people who hack sim cards or fighting terrorism... the fbi has better things to do
  • GET REAL!!! You think u'll go to jail for hatching ur phone?!?! U must be a kid still scared by the boogie man and you always lock your closed before bed time.lool
    People that kill other people get away with it and U think ull be busted..haha.
    It is just a hoax to scare people and to get some money into the provider pockets..until eventually this will be discovered.
    I'm the first to try the hack once the devs will release them.
    Remember... nothing is more important that property (yours phone) which is guaranteed by constitution. There is no law or contract that can break this. Deal wit it OR@NGE or AT$T....
  • how do you put the sim in the iphone
  • so when do you think 3g is unlockable?
  • this doesnt have to do with the article..but i need help.!!!
    I bought a 8gb iphone 3g of a friend of my friend for 150 bucks. i bought it because i heard all these people talking about taking it to t-mobile and getting service off them. so i went and they said i had to unlock the phone..i didnt know how so i paid 50 dollars for that.. then i took it back to the t-mobile store and paid 80 something dollars to get a mothly service plan. when i put in the sim, all the phone said was no service!!!!!!! wtf do i do! i took it back to t-mobile and he said he couldnt help me cuz its not there phone, i took it back to the chinese bastard and he said he doesnt know..! is there something else i have to do?? if so plz help.
  • How are you?
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