Wall Street Journal Lifts iPhone Hacker Veils

Ever since I laid my hands on the original first gen iPhone, I had to use various tools to activate/jailbreak/unlock my phone. It definitely requires some skills to reverse engineer and figure out ways to bypass Apple’s lockdown on the iPhone.

However this isn’t that difficult if you’re part of an elite team of “iPhone hackers” that keep upstaging Apple after every firmware update. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published an intriguing article detailing the lives of AriX, Chronic, Geohot and the Chronic Dev Team.

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Here’s an excerpt:

Ari [he is 15 years old!], who goes by AriX online, soon began to work with the Chronic Dev Team’s half-dozen teenagers and twentysomethings. The group communicates almost exclusively via a private online chat room, where they can talk and send files. Team members say they don’t know all the others’ real-life identities. One of them, Mr. Strafach says, lives in Austria.

Earlier this year, Ari and his team tried to hack more efficiently by working with another group — iPhone Dev Team, an invitation-only bunch in their 20s and 30s who have typically been the first to roll out iPhone hacks.

Members of the iPhone Dev Team worried about working in a large group. In part, they were concerned that if information leaked out about the security holes they were probing, others could exploit them first. Or, Apple could plug the holes. In March, the two groups stopped communicating.

…and WSJ video (it’s a Flash video, you’ll need to view it on a computer):

I always found it interesting how these two groups would get into their debates as to release jailbreaking tools early or until after firmware updates. Personally, I don’t mind waiting a bit longer to ensure that tools will work for updated firmware versions, instead of jailbreaking relentlessly time and time again.

Within the article, real names of iPhone Dev Team and Chronic Dev Team members are revealed. So if you’ve been waiting to find out more about what these guys do behind the scenes, get ready for the identity bubble to burst. I never thought that some of these guys would reveal themselves, but I guess when the Wall Street Journal comes knocking you reconsider holding back.

[Wall Street Journal]

PS – I asked IM+ for more promo codes to give away since we had such an overwhelming response to our original IM+ with Push Contest Giveaway (winners posted here). Reply to this post and I’ll pick two more lucky winners! Must reply before midnight!

PPS – I’ve installed a new commenting system from DISQUS, which will enable a better experience for everyone replying to and responding to blog posts. You can login with your Facebook or twitter credentials, and registering a DISQUS account will ensure that nobody can pretend to be YOU (plus it keeps track of comments you made etc)! Check it out!

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Mike

    Its really amazing to see how young these guys really are. When you consider everything that must be involved with breaking down the iphone code and making use of the hardware exploits, these guys have accomplished alot at a young age. Hopefully that means these guys will be around and working their magic for a long time to come 🙂

  • I was surprised Ari was 15 when I first read it too! The WSJ video was interesting too, but the author's voice almost put me to sleep! 😉

  • Mike

    Its really amazing to see how young these guys really are. When you consider everything that must be involved with breaking down the iphone code and making use of the hardware exploits, these guys have accomplished alot at a young age. Hopefully that means these guys will be around and working their magic for a long time to come 🙂

  • I was surprised Ari was 15 when I first read it too! The WSJ video was interesting too, but the author's voice almost put me to sleep! 😉

  • ifokust

    Wow, what was I doing at 15yrs old……lol
    I'm surprised they've revealed their identities; hope they don't regret it down the road.

  • The revealing of their identities could lead to future job opportunities, as opposed being shut down by Apple! 😉

  • The revealing of their identities could lead to future job opportunities, as opposed being shut down by Apple! 😉

  • Sheeko

    Wow. I can't imagine how young these guys are. At 15 I don't think I was any close to hacking anything :D. Amazing. Just hope they don't abandon those of us who rely so much on what they do. It would be such a huge loss

  • Congrats to the winners of the IM+ contest. I would love another crack at winning what sounds like a must have program.
    Ron

  • Phil Jones

    Very interesting article, guess that this is the best job post ever for these guys.

  • Dusty

    Smart kid! lol But would u enjoy spending ur summer inside hacking all day?
    Some more info over at the forums… http://iphoneincanada.ca/forums/showthread.php?…

  • Dusty

    I agree with iPhoneinCanada and the author's voice lol

  • Dusty

    Ya it does make ya wonder… But like the video clip mentioned, hopefully their lawyers are that good if it comes to a bad situation! lol

  • JMCD

    Maybe apple will try to hire them 😛 , generally people that are capable of what they are doing could be doing things not so good.

  • DjDATZ

    Wow, 15? Really? I'm flabbergasted. What was I doing at 15? Nothing NEARLY this important. Hell, at that point in time, online forums were barely becoming a big thing…lol

  • Ian

    I never would have guessed any if them would be so young. Great article. IM+ would be nice too.

  • pilot777

    I have recently retired, not voluntarily, but it is one of my daily highlights to get my cup of Tassimo Starbucks, come up stairs and read your blog. I am leanring so much so consequently I am enjoying my 3G Iphone more and more. Thsnk you

  • Dusty

    It was dial up internet back then and nearly any sites to do with forums lol Now a days everything has to do with technology as in computers and Internet.

  • Wow, 15. That's awesome! More IM+ giveaways is awesome too.

  • Wow I'm not really surprised how young these people are. They do good work. I don't like how they are out in the open now though.

  • Ilya

    Please enter me once again.

  • ckpc

    Yeah more IM+ with Push promo codes!!

  • ReyT

    Very nice blogpost iPhoneinCanada. Wow, at 15…I was just dancing to Michael Jackson songs at 15. Nowadays, wirh kids being exposed to a lot of technology, no wonder. I bet there are 13 year old podcasters too. Thanks for the post and link.

  • Kosmo

    IM+ looks like a great application and I would like to participate in the contest!

  • Nick

    wow this is quite the change to replying I actually have to “scroll” to see all the options!!

  • zzricezz

    Woah, at the age of 15. At that age I was just playing games :)..

  • Sunny

    Only 15?….wow

  • Dillinger

    I'm not using a jailbroken iPhone but I think it's great that these hackers are out there. You could argue that the reason the app store exists today is because of hackers. Originally the iPhone was such a closed platform and everyone was jailbreaking to get access to third party apps, eventually forcing apple to open up the iPhone.

  • Generation gap!

  • Full_Moto_Jacket

    Jailbreaking news always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. 🙂

  • Jeremy

    Cool, I'll try again for IM+

  • I've finally started to use the free version of IM+ and think that it is time to start using the push notifications that will let my friends find me anytime they want. I'd love a free code! 😉

  • Wallaby

    He looks like a young Bill Gates… funny !

  • Jenn

    I'd really like to get on of those IM push codes, if you manage to get some 🙂 thanks!

  • Tim

    IM+ looks like the only smart option for push notification. It'd be great and thanks for procuring 2 more codes.

  • S Singh

    awesome post! iphone dev team ftw! im+ must really be something… its getting an amazing response

  • IM+ is only $4.99 right now. Good deal IMHO.

  • Edsel Yu Chua

    Its my birthday on the 11th i hope i can win the im+ contest, which would help me communicate with my wife in the philippines. Very informative site. Good job, got my invisible sheild from here and i love it.

    Thanks,
    edsel

  • iGuy

    Replying for the contest! Yet to win anything. I just moved into a new house a few days ago, so maybe this is my lucky week!

  • Raz

    15 years old. damn!

  • Jon

    Wow, his own website in grade 2, thats crazy. Good on em.

  • Gordon

    Jogs my mind of the book 'Hackers' years
    ago. Good to see hacking is alive and well 🙂

  • Chris

    I find it funny how a big corporation like apple is having their codes broken by such young people. I just goes to show how far along technology is comming and how it affecting new generations

  • Will Pardoe

    All of the dev team people are so young! It amazes me that the geniuses behind jailbreaking/unlocking the iPhone are this young!

  • These are people that Apple should be employing as their security QA team. I'm sure they would accept the jobs for enough money. 😉

  • Omegamaniac

    I would love to know when the iPhone will get flash, and I would also enjoy the im+ with push I have the free version and enjoy it's versatility, I will also be jbing my 3gs tonight 😀

  • Birdie

    There is no surprised that they are kids. They like Apple.
    You guys probly forgot Mafiaboy , the hacker who took down CNN, Yahoo, Ebay…. in 2000. He was also 15 year old kid.

  • dashparr

    Will Musclenerd now remove that pineapple over his face? Mr. Eric Mcdonald…

  • wingzero

    Thanks! Another round of IM+!!

  • Lotuslander

    The only thing I was hacking into at 15 was my parents' liquor cabinet! Unbelieveable! Thanks for the IM+ bonus!

  • Nick_Abby

    amazing… great job that 15 yr old has quite the life ahead of him!

  • Ejayc

    Hook me up!

  • beavisaur

    I think its very interesting even to find out the ages of some of these guys.

    P.S. Hook me up with some IM+ 🙂

  • Nabe

    This kid has it made in the shade now. I wonder if he will continue on hacking for the iPhone/iPod Touch now that his identity is known…

  • woooo! I love IM+ with Push!

  • Ron

    Kids are so talented these days…

    Also applying for the contest… Thanks for the extra codes!

  • Edsel Yu Chua

    I don't know if im doing the wrong thing, but itunes said the promo code is not valid. I tried copy and pasting it from my email, but still no luck. Pls help.

    Thanks

    edsel

  • X1Zero

    The promo code is for a USA account. Are you entering it in a USA account or Canada?
    We have a guide on our blog here on how to quickly make one.

  • edselyuchua

    Got to install the app already. Thank you so much.

  • Cheers! Enjoy it! 🙂

  • edselyuchua

    Got to install the app already. Thank you so much.

  • Cheers! Enjoy it! 🙂