Alternatives are something that can manipulate the original technology on other lookalike gadgets, apps, etc, but it’s no surprise that there’s a fully-loaded market for counterfeit Apple hardware and the iPhone leads the way in this regard. Then the iPhone X sitting on top of this right now. As a result, there is no shortage of fake iPhones online and some of them are undeniably bad, but there are some that at first blush could catch plenty of people out.
Here’s what we have is a $100 iPhone X clone, the folks over at Motherboard have managed to get their hands on one such gadget, purchased it for just 1/10th of the original price of a real iPhone X. Set to put the mock through its paces.
First and foremost, the packaging being distinctly Apple-like, and the handset inside the box does have a feel of the iPhone X about it. There’s still a notch or sorts, and the whole overall design feel of the device would certainly have the uninitiated fooled. It may not look identical to an official iPhone X, but it’s not far off, after all.
The phone looks like an iPhone X. It has the same form factor, most of the same detailing, no home button, the same volume rockers and side buttons, a working Lightning port, and the same speaker holes on the bottom of the phone. It also has pentalobe screws on the bottom of the device, just like an iPhone.
Turning the “iPhone” on is where things start to go wrong. However, the software it is running shows clearly a heavily skinned version of Android rather than iOS, as you might expect, and it has all the problems you might anticipate. Apps that would live on an iPhone have icons here, but they do not necessarily do what you would expect in reality. The Podcasts app launches YouTube, Apple Maps launches Google Maps and so on. Crazy enough, but where things get scary is on the security front.
Motherboard spoke with Trail of Bits research Chris Evans who was able to lay out just how dangerous such a phone can be, particularly for an unsuspecting user.
According to Evans, the phone runs a version of Android with a patchwork of code taken from several different sources. The phone is also loaded with backdoors and malicious apps.
The apps, which appear to come from several different online sources, is where it “gets really bad,” as Evans put it in the report shared with Motherboard. Security features such as permissions, regulation, or sandboxing (which keep a vulnerability in one app from affecting other parts of the phone) are “almost non-existent.”
Several of the stock fake Apple apps such as Compass, Stocks, Clock ask for “invasive permissions,” such as reading text messages. It’s unclear if this is a sign that the developers were mediocre or malicious, Evans wrote.
Before buying it you are been warned. Thankfully, if you buy your iPhone X from a reputable seller you are very unlikely to end up with a huge mess, but if someone offers you a deal that is just too good to be true, it’s probably a fair bet that it is. Stay away from such counterfeit devices, and be safe out there, and don’t ever buy anything you’re not 100% sure about.
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