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21.09.2016

Researcher hacked iPhone 5c ten thousand times cheaper than the FBI hackers

University of Cambridge senior research associate Sergei Skorobogatov published an article called “The bumpy road towards iPhone 5c NAND mirroring”, where he showed how to crack Apple’s smartphone using the technology of flash memory NAND mirroring rig. He also demonstrated that the FBI threw away $999,900. Skorobogatov’s paper became some kind of response to the confrontation between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI demanded for Apple to create a backdoor to access locked iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the organizers of San Bernardino attack hoping to discover something important for the investigation. Apple refused to do it and referred to the right o users to protect their personal data and was willing to go to the US Supreme Court. However, the FBI soon withdrew its claim because it used the services of third-party hackers. No important data was discovered on the hacked phone, however, this is not even the case.

Hackers’ fee was about one million dollars. Meanwhile even during the confrontation some experts stated that it was possible to use NAND mirroring to hack the device. The FBI declined this possibility. Now Sergei Skorobogatov proved that it was possible. He used iPhone 5c running iOS 9.3 for his experiments. The researcher took out flash memory chip and using the device he assembled created a significant number of copies of the memory. After that using brute-force attack he got the digital password. Internal Apple protection automatically erases the memory after the code is entered incorrectly for several times. However, when there are many “clones” on the memory, Skorobogatov didn’t worry about that. As a result in about 24 hours he found the combination and hacked the memory.

Sergei Skorobogatov believes that iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 can be hacked the same way because they use the same type of NAND memory. He hopes that Apple will take note of the results of his work. Moreover, he reported that spent around $100, which is 10 thousand times less than the payment of the FBI to the hackers.


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Researcher hacked iPhone 5c ten thousand times cheaper than the FBI hackers