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Bad news for anyone with an iPhone 3GS: even if you have the latest OS, even if you have a PIN number, even if it isn't jailbroken - it can be hacked by anyone using a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

I wouldn't ordinarily reveal exactly how to hack an iPhone within a news story such as this, but what the heck, here's all the gory detail revealed, step by step.

  • Step 1 - Take a powered down iPhone 3GS and connect it to your computer running a fully up to date version of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.
  • Step 2 - See Step 1.

Seriously, that really is all it takes according to security blogger Bernd Marienfeldt who reckons that the way Ubuntu Lucid Lynx handles the iPhone means that a ton of data is accessible, even if that iPhone is PIN protected and running the very latest version of the OS. How much data exactly? Well how about all your Google safe browsing databases, game content, music, photos and videos, voice recordings and so on for starters? The person gaining access in this way will leave no visible footprints to show the iPhone has been compromised, and will enjoy full read and write access during the hack.

About the only thing someone could not do is make phone calls without having your PIN number, but that's precious little comfort should your lost or stolen iPhone end up in the hands of someone with access to a Ubuntu machine.

According to Bernd "Apple could reproduce the as described serious issue and believes to understand why this can happen but cannot provide timing or further details on the release of a fix".


As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

Dunno, not tried it as I don't have an iPhone 3G - however, I suspect it most likely does as I cannot think of any reason why it wouldn't.

I'd me more interested if this can be done with an iPad. I've been waiting for 3 years to change the email sound without jail breaking the goddamn OS.

You've waited 3 years to change something on device that's only been around for less than 3 months? :-)

You've waited 3 years to change something on device that's only been around for less than 3 months? :-)

Read again and think harder. It's been the same OS core over the past three years when the first iPhone came out.

The article starter has earned a lot of community kudos, and such articles offer a bounty for quality replies.