How Hackers and Scammers Break Into iCloud-Locked iPhones
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February 10 '19 at 08:31 AM
By BeauHD from
Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department
Motherboard's Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler report of the underground industry where thieves, coders, and hackers work to remove a user's iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold. They reportedly are able to do this by phishing the phone's original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. The other method (that is very labor intensive and rare) involves removing the iPhone's CPU from the Logic Board and reprogramming it to create what is essentially a "new" device. It is generally done in Chinese refurbishing labs and involves stealing a "clean" phone identification number called an IMEI. Here's an excerpt from their report: Making matters more complicated is the fact that not all iCloud-locked phones are stolen devices -- some of them are phones that are returned to telecom companies as part of phone upgrade and insurance programs. The large number of legitimately obtained, iCloud-locked iPhones helps supply the independent phone repair industry with replacement parts that cannot be obtained directly from Apple. But naturally, repair companies know that a phone is worth more unlocked than it is locked, and so some of them have waded into the hacking underground to become customers of illegal iCloud unlocking companies.
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