Researchers buy prototype iPhones to find iOS vulnerabilities

Security researchers are buying prototypes of ‘dev fused’ iPhones to better investigate iOS software and find vulnerabilities, according to a report from Motherboard. Those prototypes can be worth thousands of dollars.

The prototypes will not run the standard version of iOS, but a variant called Switchboard, Motherboard reports. That’s full of apps to test iPhones. Then, with an equally expensive proprietary cable, it is possible to root such iPhones from a Mac and read things that are normally not possible, such as communication between the ‘secure enclave’ of the soc and the rest of the processor cores.

Researchers are using the prototypes to see more of iOS than is normally possible. The so-called ‘dev fused’ iPhones are worth much more than regular iPhones. A single copy can cost thousands of dollars. They probably come from factories in China. The software checks at startup whether the software is a developer version and whether there is a certain pin on the pcb, which has been removed from normal models.

Apple has not confirmed the existence of the ‘dev fused’ iPhones. Security researchers are said to have had their hands on the prototypes for several years.

Leave a Comment