Hackers break Apple’s Lightning connector making it easier to debug kernel bugs for future jailbreaks

By , Feb 14, 2015

Lightning Hacked

Big news for the hacking community, and by extension, iPhone jailbreakers. Apple’s Lightning connector—a proprietary bus and power connector found in all modern iPhones, iPads and iPod touches—has had its security compromised by a team of resourceful hackers. What does this mean for the jailbreak community?

German hacker Stefan Esser, better known in the jailbreak community as i0n1c, posted a tweet linking to a blog post by the team of hackers who broke the Lightning connector’s security:

That post, on a French blog called Ramtin Amin, goes into immense detail about the steps needed to finally reach the end goal.

So again, what does this all mean for jailbreakers? It means that hackers will now have access to serial kernel debugging like they did with the old 30-pin connectors on older iOS devices. The compromise of Lightning’s security doesn’t mean that new jailbreaks are a given, or that the hardware is already jailbroken, it just means that hackers should, in theory, have an easier time debugging kernel bugs due to the serial access seen at the end of the video embed above. It also makes it possible to debug iBoot level exploits as well.

Up until now, jailbreak hackers like TaiG and Pangu have had to find alternative methods or “port up” from older 30-pin enabled devices running the iOS version that they wish to jailbreak. The availability of Lightning serial access means more potential eyes on finding exploits for future jailbreaks.

Although it doesn’t mean much for the immediate future, this is big news for the community, and could bring benefits long term. Special thanks to @iH8sn0w for helping break this information down into a digestible format.

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  • Everythingapplespro

    The lightning cable has technically been “broken” awhile in China by several teams and by Apple, it’s just the first “public” published announcement of it being broken

  • Alberto Espinal

    i0n1c is the biggest B.S in the hacking community, He always keep things for himself!

    • netsurfer912

      Pretty sure he has reasons.

    • kommentelgeto

      It wasn’t i0n1c, he just tweeted about it.

    • XZavier

      The heck is your problem? This wasn’t even him he was actually spreading the news to the community and not keeping it for himself and didn’t even do this! I think you are just being B.S right now…

      • Alberto Espinal

        He always keeps S*t for himself if you follow this guy you will see how he has had exploits for jailbreaks and he just brag about it and never does anything about it, he says here look I have Cydia install in my device, don’t have respect for this guy, I have respect for the dev team and by the way this is the internet and if I don’t agree with something I have to express it, if I don’t agree with you I will express it too!

      • WonkieInc

        So basically, the point you’re trying to portray is that you’re an absolute idiot?

        Alright.

      • Alberto Espinal

        Yes exactly if that makes you happy, LOL! Did you see how many likes I got by this comment? So there are lots of idiots here, LOL!

    • Digitalfeind

      So. He can do what he pleases. Try jailbreaking yourself if you’re upset.

    • SoylentGreen

      Actually, he obviously passes on knowledge ( see:Pangu jb) and partakes in the gifting of exploits(see:Pangu jb), I believe he is a teacher of his craft, i assume that it is conducive to good business to advertise skill sets that demonstrate feats that are “unique” at that point in time (showing personal jailbreaks but not releasing) and also has massive monitory value $160.000 via an exploit broker, such as one of the guys friends (he knows many exploit, finders, brokers, buyers etc),
      Hes a businessman, maybe hes just not the community embracing type, but he has definitely facilitated at least one jailbreak.
      Ps. It usually helps if you do atleast 1 minute of research before you just say things & letting your heart rule your head.

      • h4nd0fg0d

        Amen to tht^^^^^^

      • Alberto Espinal

        And that supposed to pay my rent whatever he does, I am expressing what I feel about someone and everybody jumps, I just don’t like the guy that’s it, should I just keep my mouth shot because you guys disagree

      • Digitalfeind

        It’s just us disagreeing with you for sake of discussion. Should we keep our mouthed closed about it too??

      • SoylentGreen

        I only disagreed because infact you were making suppositions about his reasons for teasing us mortals with jailbreaks, i know what you mean, and im not his no1 fan either, but credit where credit is due, i bet you don’t bitch at bmw for advertising cars and not giving you one, and we are talking big big money here. If you sacrifice some pay for greater recognition ( ala saurik) in a community then you become more liked but youd likely be less rich, some ppl could care less about ‘fame’ and are happy with the cash only, 10n1cly (see what i done there) the jb community has given this guy the best of both worlds, like i said im not his biggest fan but i respect anyone who can go from school boy to a veritable genius,
        If you look at jb teasing video as a targeted ad for exploit buyers and brokers you will get a better perspective.
        Ps. Don’t hate the player, hate the game

      • Alberto Espinal

        Ok

  • NekoMichi

    While it’s an opportunity for jailbreak development, wouldn’t this also pose as a potential vulnerability for malware? Such as compromised chargers that could execute harmful code on a connected device?

    • Diego

      Probably, one big reason to stay with original apple lightning cables.

      • XZavier

        -_- TO EXPENSIVE

      • mike

        *too

      • Diego

        I know, 🙁 that is a big issue for us

      • yup i just use amazon lightning cable, mucheaper and works all the time! 😉

      • WonkieInc

        Just stick with literally anything MFI Certified and you’re good

  • Bugs Bunnay

    This also means someone’s getting (or already got) serious money in the black market for these exploits.

    • Digitalfeind

      No it doesn’t.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        you got me. was just trolling.

      • Digitalfeind

        >_< I've been trollololo'd

  • Mark Kramer

    Hmm can apple fix this by changing the cable some way? Time to stock up.

    • CaffeinePizza

      Not unless they want to completely change the connector. You’d have incompatibilities.

  • José Gabriel Rivera Velázquez

    Yes!!! Force Apple to remake these awful lightning cables.

    • Jordan

      What don’t you like about it?

      • Alex Patron

        They rust, they always rust. They are so crapy. Worst thing they could have done to such a great device.

      • Chris

        I’ve had the same original lightning cables since the first one I got with my iPhone 5 and every one since including the first hasn’t rusted.

      • Alex Patron

        You must be joking right? I have had every iphone the day they came out. And ever since the 5 came out I have went through chargers at least one a month. Every month I have to get a new charger. What do you do never charge it? Or do you just work for apple pr

      • Chris

        Yes, I charge my iPhone, no, I don’t work for Apple, I simply take care of my products.

      • leart

        used daily more than once per day for 4 months, still looks like new

      • 9to5Slavery

        Because you take good care of it. Good job! Thankfully someone not clumsy and shitty to blame others than themselves.

      • h4nd0fg0d

        Ya, me too. He’s full o’shit.

      • Alberto Espinal

        Me too, the only thing is that they break at the end of the connector

      • pnh

        You must sweat like a farm animal.

      • 9to5Slavery

        You got a third party most likely. The pins on the input does not rust and it is waterproof .

      • In terms of durability, the Lightning chargers are a joke. I had my old 30-pin for almost 6 years without an issue. I’ve already had to replace my current one three times in the two years I’ve had it.

      • Appel haz tu make moar munny sumhaw.

      • Mike Colacone Saal

        agreed. My ruin all the time. The great thing is Apple will replace them for free!

      • José Gabriel Rivera Velázquez

        The wear and tear is horrible. I’ve purchased so many of them it’s ridiculous. I don’t have any issues with the design just the poor quality materials. Also, this might make Apple bring out the reversible USB Lightning cables that were rumored sooner rather than later.

      • This (http://bit. ly/1v0cRVv).

  • ipm

    Realy Cool

  • Cristian B

    In other news, ionic looks like a serial killer

  • singhay559

    Can someone find a way to downgrade firmwares alrdy.

    • amarioguy

      A. Need Saved APTickets and SHSH Blobs, which almost no one does. B. Need Signature Exploits. The 2nd one is not a big deal. The 1st requirement is the reason no downgrade has been released. Almost no people save SHSH, so releasing a public downgrade would be useless.

  • Jonathan

    what does this mean ???? im so lost ???