Exclusive Interview With A Dev Team Member

This interview was featured on AppleBlog.Blog.hu and was sent in and translated by Hungarian reader panicradio. It is extremely rare that Dev Team members give interviews, and while this is not MuscleNerd, or PlanetBeing speaking here, it’s always nice to have an insight on what these guys do and how they do it. Dev Team member, if you read this, hit me up as I’d love to get an interview with you directly.

First of all congrats for the job you did so far, but I think you already know that half of the world is supporting you!

Thanks! Me and my wife read your blog, and after you wrote about the Dev Team, we thought it would be a good idea to find you. Your blog is the first hungarian language blog or newsportal we communicate to directly.

Special thanks for that. Let’s start with who the members of the Dev Team (no names of course) are, and how you organize your work since you are living in different countries, continents.

Members of the Dev Team are software, electronics and cryptographics professionals from all over the world. The members of the team – or much more, the core – are from Hungary, France, Belgium, England, Russia, Israel, Ukraine and the USA. We work in a way, that we distribute our work files among us, and with team work, we put the ideas together. The average age is about 30 years old. Most of us don’t know each others name and never met each other.

How many are you?

Everyone has a full time job – and of course this has influence on the Dev Team’s work, but usually there are 15 active members working on the job at the same time.

How do you organize, where does the idea come from to hack the iPhone, and why did you set it up?

We are high tech enthusiasts and hackers… hackers in a good way. We like to crack things and see how they work. Most of us have worked with UNIX and OS X for a long time. Few of us knew the others from there, and other professionals have joined later, those whose work we appreciate a lot.

Do you get any threats or “feedback” from Apple? Did you have any contact with the company?

Apple never made contact with us. We make sure we never break the law when we release a new software. PwnageTool and QuickPwn are very complicated, because these softwares remove the necessary parts from Apple’s firmware. We NEVER release pirated softwares.

How much time do you spend on the crack, and other iPhone-related works?

We are working on it 24 hours a day. While one of us are working on it, others are sleeping, and we continually switch. IRC is running in the background all the time, even when we are working onour private jobs, so we have worked on the iPhone thousands of hours. I have to mention, that we spend a lot of money on special hardware and reverse engineering softwares, also from our own money.

Do you get any donation, do you make any profit out of the huge work you made anyway?

We finance everything with our own money. Most of the team has a good job that pays good money in the IT field. The Dev Team is our hobby and although it is very time consuming, yet it still is a hobby. We didn’t take money from anyone!

How many people cracked their iPhones with your program? Do you have any idea how much iPhone users freed their phones?

We have more than hundred thousand recurrent PwnageTool and QuickPwn users. It is hard to estimate how many exactly, but a lot.

Why it is so hard to unlock the iPhone 3G? What is the main difference between 2G and 3G that has prevented the unlock so far?

Apple and Infineon made a very serious work and made almost impossible to unlock the iPhone 3G. They learned from what we did with 2G and made the 3G much more safer.

How far are you from suceeding with the unlock?

This is secret of course.

How deep was the 2.2 baseband update? If you want to make a sim-unlock on this as well, do you have to start the job from scratch? So, if someone accidently updated the baseband, does he have to give up, or does he still have a chance to unlock his phone?

At the moment the exploits we used to run our codes on 2.1 and older basebands has been removed from 2.2. 2.2 closed the security breach we used to control the baseband as we wanted and at the moment 2.2 baseband is bad.

What do you mean “bad”?

In 2.2 baseband there is no such an exploit we can use, so it is bad :-).

What do you think about the sofware and hardware of the iPhone 3G compared to other smartphones?

The iPhone OS is very advanced technology. It is years ahead of everything you can buy on the market at the moment. And yes, I am an Apple fan, but nobody can deny that iPhone is almost futuristic. T-Mobile’s G1 is the second best device after iPhone, but it is still behind 18 months at least I think.

Why do these two devices have advantage over others?

The iPhone OS is based on UNIX/Mach operating system, and both UNIX and Mach is a result of many years of developement. G1 is using Linux, which has a similar story. Fortunately nowadays mobile processors are powerful enough to use UNIX.

What kind of deficiency does the iPhone OS have, and in which direction would you develop it, if it depended on you?

It would need to be more open.

Why and for who do you do your work?

First of all for myself, for us, and for the people who prefer an unlocked phone. We bought a flat in Budapest with my wife, and the agent does not come to our home every week to check if we had painted the walls red, does he? The situation is similar with the IPhone and other devices we buy as well.

What do you do on week days?

We work and play. We have a very special Hungarian Vizsla (deerhound), he keeps us busy all the time.

Why did you choose a pineapple as your logo?

Apple/Pinapple, Pwn/Own, PwnApple (Pwning Apple)