There is perhaps no name in the world of hacking as legendary as Geohot. George Hotz was the first person to unlock the original iPhone back in 2007. He was 17 years old at the time. He also released multiple jailbreaks, including “purplera1n” for the iPhone 3GS. Hotz later went on to hack the PlayStation 3 and battle Sony in a high-profile lawsuit.
In a recent profile by The New Yorker, we get a fascinating look at Hotz and several stories from his career as a prolific, self-taught hacker.
Nicholas Allegra, or "Comex," created iOS jailbreaks that were downloaded by millions of people. Apple finally decided to hire him as an intern last year.
iOS hackers are some of the most sought after individuals in the security research community. Geniuses like Comex who come up with jailbreaks used by millions of iPhone and iPad users are offered incredible sums of money to sell their exploits to powerful and high profile clients.
Sure, you could win a decent amount of cash at a security conference for showing off the exploits you’ve uncovered, but why not make $250,000 and secretly sell your stuff to say, an entity like the U.S. government?
Using just a cheap TV antenna, hackers could decrypt all of the secrets on your iPhone. Photo Jens Rost/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — Last night I was treated to a security demonstration. Cryptography Research director Pankaj Rohatgi pointed a cheap, standard TV antenna at an iPod Touch several feet away, running standard RSA encryption operations.
On the screen of his oscilloscope was a sound-wave generated by his custom software showing distinct troughs at semi-regular intervals. These troughs, and their accompanying flattish peaks, represented the ones and zeroes of the private keys used in every secure communication we make today, sucked right from the iPod. With no further cracking required, all of your private operations can be read as if in plain text.
How is this done? From the electronic noise generated by every microchip as it goes about its processing duties.
If you’re the kind of geeky person who experienced a little thrill of joy when the hacking scene in Tron:Legacy included realistic use of a genuine command line interface, you (or perhaps your kids) might also enjoy playing with Hacker Typer.
Thanks to the success of Apple’s iOS devices and its iTunes music store, the company’s iTunes software is installed on more than 250 Million Macs and PCs all over the world, making it one of the most popular media players available. It may not have been so popular, however, had users known it came with a security flaw that allowed government intelligence agencies and the police to monitor them.
These adorable Girl Scouts haven't hacked anything. They just sell cookies.
A button-cute 10 year old girl may have just set a new prestigious record. It’s not for the largest number of consecutive jump rope skips, or for chewing a piece of gum for the longest time, or even for collecting the most Facebook friends. It’s for identifying a zero-day exploit in a number of iOS and Android games! Isn’t that cute?
OS X Lion is being hailed by many as the most secure operating system yet, not just from Apple, but in total. In particular, its FileVault encryption rewrite is being widely hailed as one of the most secure, low-overhead ways yet to keep your data safe.
But behind all the talk, there’s a huge security hole in OS X Lion that has been present at least since Snow Leopard. Any Mac with a Firewire port is vulnerable to it, and it’s so easy to exploit that any hacker with physical access to your computer can get your password within minutes.