Vietnamese iPhone Unlock Isn't for the Faint of HeartS

You might think you're some kind of l337 h4x0r because you used software to unlock your iPhone. Big deal! You've got nothing on the Vietnamese hackers that'll unlock your iPhone for you the hard way.

First, a technician opened up the phone and stripped it to the motherboard. In his skillful hands, the device seemed much easier to dismantle than I expected.

The technician then extracted the baseband chip, the component that controls the connection between the phone and the mobile network, from the motherboard. (This is a painstaking task as the chip is strongly glued to the phone's motherboard. A mistake during this process could brick the phone completely.)

Once the chip was extracted, it was Tuan Anh's turn. He used a chip reader to read information into a file. He then used a Hex editor to remove the locking data from the file, and after that, the chip got reprogrammed with the newly altered file. Now it was no longer programmed to work with only a specific provider.

The chip then got reassembled into the motherboard, another painstaking process.

As a last step, the technician put the phone back together, and it looked like nothing had been done to it.

All this for a mere $80! Call me crazy, but watching someone do this to my phone would be infinitely more satisfying than simply downloading a program to crack it. You'd feel like your phone really earned its unlocking. [Crave via Boing Boing Gadgets]