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Applidium Cracks Siri Code, Makes Siri Possible for Other Devices

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By Daniel Distant, Christian Post Reporter
November 16, 2011|3:17 pm

Applidium, a French application developer, cracked the code protecting the voice-recognition software of Siri, allowing them to use the program from phones besides the iPhone 4S.

Through a tedious trial-and-error process, Applidium found a way to intercept communications between Siri and Apple’s servers, tap into Siri’s speech-to-text capabilities, and consequently, use Siri on any phone, including non-Apple products.

The process was more than a little complicated. The Paris-based company had to set up a fake DNS-server, and then get their iPhone 4S to send the Siri requests. From there, they had to unravel the format the phone was using to correspond with the server to allow them to see exactly what was being “said” from one device to the other.

This debunks the myth that iPhone 4S devices can only use the popular voice-recognition software; on the contrary, what actually depends on Apple are the responses from their servers, not the technology itself.

To prevent companies and individual hackers from exploiting this security flaw, Apple provided every iPhone 4S with an individual authentication key.

Applidium found a way around the preventive measure by taking a valid key from an existing iPhone 4S, then providing it as a unique header to all requests. It is unlikely that Apple would or could latch on to one key attempting to circumvent their system on a different device.

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However, if Applidium or someone else were to create a widespread application coming pre-loaded with that key, Apple would notice, and probably shut it down. Although one request from a key would be virtually impossible to detect, thousands of Siri commands coming from what Apple would see as the same phone would raise eyebrows.

This why it is unlikely that a Siri application will be created, because Apple could simply disable keys allowing users to access the servers.

Apple’s motives for making Siri exclusive to the iPhone 4S are not completely profit-prompted, though. A few days after the iPhone 4S release about a month ago, Apple’s servers were overloaded with Siri requests, causing an outage.

There have already been over 4 million of the iPhone 4S sold, sending a plethora of Siri communications every second. Adding many more users could certainly overload Apple’s servers again.

Still, Applidium’s work has not been in vain. Further Siri functionality could be discovered using the French company’s details as a jumping off point. The developers have taken steps to ensure that others could emulate their work by posting the coding online.

So far, Apple has not released any statement regarding Applidium’s research, or stated any plans to bring Siri to other Apple devices.

 

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