False Hacker Poses as iPhone Dev Team Unlock Author, Tries to Grab $50,000 Donation

han-ooops.jpgA false hacker going by the alias of haRRo has tried to trick everyone by posing as the “sole developer” of a graphical tool to unlock the iPhone. The GUI application is really the work of Erica Sadun, Weblog/TUAW’s writer and one of the brilliant programmers who has been developing iPhone applications since the beginning. Not only that: haRRo tried to convince iPhone Free Sim Unlock reseller iphoneworldwideunlock.com that he was the author to get a donation of $41,560 ($50,000AUD). Now, haRRo has associated himself with another reseller, Aussie iPhone Unlock, to distribute Erica’s application online. iPhone Dev Team denies that haRRo is a part of their group. People have been tricked, including other online tech publications.

AU: Seems Aussie iPhone Unlock has turned into the train wreck I thought it was at the start. I don’t want to say I told you so… trying to get the story from Angus on what has happened there, but things certainly sound like people are not getting what they paid for.

HaRRo, a 23 year old from Belfast, UK, grabbed Erica’s code from the IRC channel by his own admission According to him, however, he rewrote 80% of the code because Erica’s application didn’t work.

The facts are that Erica’s software works —still pending broad testing for distribution— and there’s only one way to draw a user interface in Objective C. There is no way to rewrite this. While asked to share his source code to prove his claims, he repeatedly refused to provide it.

Later, haRRo contacted another gadget blog, that posted the following news:

[Original story 12:20PM EDT, Updated 12:46PM EDT: Engadget has corrected their story]
Following that post, which bolstered his credibility, Sasha from iphoneworldwideunlock.com contacted haRRo and offered him a $41,560 donation (AUD50,000) for creating the graphic unlock which Sasha intended to distribute.

Sasha : i will donate $50,000 AUD to you
[14:20:53]Sasha : the rest covers my payments to IPSF
[14:21:12]HaRRo Inc. : i dono what 50,000 AUD is 😉
[14:21:23]Sasha : about $42 USD (That is 42K USD)
[14:21:44]HaRRo Inc. : 🙂

[16:01:30]HaRRo Inc. : its only me i believe making the app
[16:01:41]Sasha : ok
[16:06:52]Sasha : i will be making the announcement soon about our deal

[16:38:01]Sasha : so when will you have the software complete

Sasha contacted me telling me about the donation to haRRo. At that point, I told Sasha that Erica was the author of the GUI application and that in fact, the only author of the actual unlocking code was the original iPhone Dev Team. iPhone Dev Teams denies that HaRRo is part of their team, saying that he was just lurking on the IRC channel.

The reseller confronted haRRo with this information:

[19:24:17]HaRRo Inc. joins conversation
[19:24:22]Sasha says: i was told you are not part of the DEV team
[19:24:31]HaRRo Inc. says: no i work alone
[19:24:41]Sasha says: well we are only offering this to the DEV Team
[19:24:49]Sasha says: do you know how to contact them?
[19:24:54]HaRRo Inc. says: offering what ?
[19:25:02]Sasha says: the deal for donations
[19:25:14]HaRRo Inc. says: well on IRC but they dont have an app
[19:25:17]HaRRo Inc. says: so feel free
[19:27:46]Sasha says: who has the APP
[19:28:07]HaRRo Inc. says: me because i am the only one to create it
[19:28:25]Sasha says: ok, so we have a deal then if i announce this soon
[19:28:50]HaRRo Inc. says: i already told you
[19:28:58]HaRRo Inc. says: but you said your not giving nothing to me yet the dev team
[19:29:25]Sasha says: well i am offering it to who ever owns and worked on the Free Unlock
[19:29:32]HaRRo Inc. says: me
[19:29:35]Sasha says: ok
[19:29:41]HaRRo Inc. says: i am the only one with a working software unlock

HaRRo denied in a conversation with the Giz that he accepted the money, saying he declined the offer. Yet, the conversation sent by Sasha, above, seems to indicate that after being uncovered, he tried to continue his solicitation for funds.

Later today, reseller Aussie iPhone Unlock announced they were partnering with haRRo to distribute Erica’s work, presumably without Erica’s consent who is expected to distribute the application soon through Installer.app once it’s fully tested. Erica’s application is intended absolutely one-click only, 100% automatic and fully legal (which means that it won’t include any copyrighted code from Infineon, AT&T or Apple.)

Expect to see other individuals claiming authorship of the unlock and trying to make business out of it.

No matter what anyone else is saying, the only person with the graphic unlock program is Erica Sadun, and the iUnlock application is the sole work of the original iPhone Dev Team.