Airtel techies dare hackers to crack iPhone code


When it comes to iPhone hackers, techies at Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel expect to have the last laugh. They claim even the most deadly hackers on the planet won’t be able to crack the codes that support the iPhone’s Airtel applications with rival company SIMs.

So, even if a hacker manages to make voice calls from an Airtel iPhone using the SIM of a rival GSM operator, he would be denied access to both exclusive icons—’Airtel Live’ and ‘Airtel Apps’—which are gateways to the full spectrum of Airtel applications built into the iconic gizmo.

This means a potential hacker of an Apple iPhones procured from Airtel won’t get to access either content or entertainment features on Airtel Live — a customised portal designed purely for Airtel subscribers. With no access to Airtel Live, he can’t access any text, audio, video, static images, music or gaming options available on the preloaded Airtel Live portal application. Neither does he get to use the powerful Google search engine.

Worse, the hacker also draws a blank if he tries activating any super secure applications like mobile payment (m-Chek) that can otherwise be accessed by Airtel users by clicking the ‘Airtel Apps’ icon on the iPhone. m-Check, would typically enable a user to manage his Airtel account or even do money transfers from his iPhone.

Confirming this, Bharti Airtel’s IT director Jai Menon, who is also chief information officer (CIO) of Bharti Enterprises, told ET: “Even if a hacker figures out a way to make voice calls from an iPhone procured from our stores using a non-Airtel SIM, he will not be able to access any of the ‘Airtel Live’ or ‘Airtel Apps’ features built into all the iPhones sold by Airtel. We’ve built in suitable levels of security to ensure both applications remain out of bounds for hackers. All iPhones distributed by Airtel will run on OSX (Version 2) OS which also powers Apple notebooks worldwide.”

He adds, “Airtel’s IT group has worked with Apple for over a year to uniquely evolve a bunch of operator-specific applications on the iPhone. In fact, Airtel is perhaps the only mobile operator besides Australia’s Optus that has evolved operator-specific applications on Apple’s iconic phone.”

Incidentally, “developing operator-specific iPhone applications was pretty much a stealth exercise that transpired by leveraging Airtel’s service delivery platform, which is a $100-million tech initiative,” said Mr Menon.

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