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#1
In 2009 through say 2012 I get that we were careful not to publish how to hack our IMEI in order to prevent pickpockets from recycling stolen N900s.

Flash forward eight years and the N900 is only still attractive to penultimate Linux geeks(who can still stomach bin blobs). To thieves today it is only an old scratched up POS and they chuck this weird non Android not iFruit gadget in the bin. It seemed back in the day that there were some among us who knew the secret of changing the IMEI on the N900. In the stalls of Shenzhen China I am sure the Nokia cable method has been out for years. I recall seeing a programmer cable being available back then from Chinese grey market for phone unlock shops.

I have a drawer with several broken N900s between my wife and I. I doubt I will ever change the IMEI on my precious last one, but I have always liked having the cable and software to do it, it is my phone I just want full access.

For the sake of unveiling one of the last TMO secrets, is there anyone still among us who can share the IMEI hack?

Last edited by biketool; 2017-08-02 at 18:47.
 

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#2
Why does one need to change the IMEI in the first place, if not for reflashing a stolen device?

Imo, there is no reason to spread this kind of information.
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#3
Originally Posted by biketool View Post
In 2009 through say 2012 I get that we were careful not to publish how to hack our IMEI in order to prevent pickpockets from recycling stolen N900s.

Flash forward eight years and the N900 is only still attractive to penultimate Linux geeks(who can still stomach bin blobs). To thieves today it is only an old scratched up POS and they chuck this weird non Android not iFruit gadget in the bin. It seemed back in the day that there were some among us who knew the secret of changing the IMEI on the N900. In the stalls of Shenzhen China I am sure the Nokia cable method has been out for years. I recall seeing a programmer cable being available back then from Chinese grey market for phone unlock shops.

I have a drawer with several broken N900s between my wife and I. I doubt I will ever change the IMEI on my precious last one, but I have always liked having the cable and software to do it, it is my phone I just want full access.

For the sake of unveiling one of the last TMO secrets, is there anyone still among us who can share the IMEI hack?
Was there any on N900?

I know Coderus pulled it of with symbian phones but never made that public public
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#4
Originally Posted by NX500 View Post
Why does one need to change the IMEI in the first place, if not for reflashing a stolen device?

Imo, there is no reason to spread this kind of information.
Wouldn't the ability to change the IMEI give some extra degree of privacy?
 

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#5
Originally Posted by NX500 View Post
Why does one need to change the IMEI in the first place, if not for reflashing a stolen device?

Imo, there is no reason to spread this kind of information.
There are limits on the usable IMEI bands in some states so only licensed GSM devices can be used.
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#6
Originally Posted by NX500 View Post
Why does one need to change the IMEI in the first place, if not for reflashing a stolen device?

Imo, there is no reason to spread this kind of information.
My GSM module is broken. I get an error when I try to display my IMEI. Because of that, I'm no longer able to install Sygic because it uses the IMEI to generate the licence code. Does this technique «emulates» the IMEI?
 

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#7
My opinion:
The risk of a stolen device being modded is still there.
Ichanging the IMEI will almost certainly get caught by many operators,

I don’t applause releasing such tools.

EDIT it is also illegal in almost all countries
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#8
Changing the device IMEI could be seen as network hacking which is a bad thing and indeed could you in trouble.

As a side note, the network takes into accord the device make/model for some behavioural changes. This is determined by the IMEI, so if you change it to disguise your N900 to look like an iPhone for example, you will not get optimal cellular service and you will place extra load on the network elements.
 

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#9
Originally Posted by juiceme View Post
Changing the device IMEI could be seen as network hacking which is a bad thing and indeed could you in trouble.

As a side note, the network takes into accord the device make/model for some behavioural changes. This is determined by the IMEI, so if you change it to disguise your N900 to look like an iPhone for example, you will not get optimal cellular service and you will place extra load on the network elements.
I know it's a bad thing, but is it actually possible?

Edit:
First part of the puzzle;
https://talk.maemo.org/showpost.php?...1&postcount=15
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N900 loaded with:
CSSU-T (Thumb)
720p recording,
Pierogi, Lanterne, Cooktimer, Frogatto
N9 16GB loaded with:
Kernel-Plus
--
[TCPdump & libpcap | ngrep]
--
donate
 

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#10
Like I said in the OC I think at some point the graphed curve of aggregate damage to our community due to long ago stolen phones being taken out of long term storage and reactivated is eclipsed by the utility or at least hacking advantage of being able to fully utilize all of the functions on the devices we own. I also feel that obscuring known functions is only a security flaw until it is available to the community. Lastly at this point where there is only a niche community, us on TMO, interested in functional N900s. I believe that even the microscopic number of stolen N900s preserved for all of these years, rather than thrown out as useless for telephony, by what must be a very hopeful pickpocket or thief finally returning to the population of available devices is a net though microscopic percentage positive to our community. The owner has already been deprived of their use, as in nearly all cases has the thief who without a warehouse has passed the nonfunctional phone along to trash or another party. Where do you think that all of the fake ‘new’ real refurbished N900 boards with new plastic and LCDs are coming from, the same refurb, resolder, reflow, and repackage shops who can also install a clean unblocked IMEI.
I suppose it its the battle between those who feel we need to tell N900 users, a group who could never leave a function untested, what is good for them; even in an era where this is not a theft worthy device vs freedom to hack and think for ourselves.
In economist terms the game theory outcome being positive for anyone who has stolen a phone has almost certainly passed on to junk recyclers. So at this point aside from the recyclers and phone shops who have had the cable reprogrammers for many years are able to return stolen phones to the economy, so far they are the only winners along with the thieves they bought IMEI blocked phones from back when the N900 looked like a valuable device. The only ones really left out are us, the community of users, who have to pay a gray/black market reprogrammer or just have control of our own devices.
I will also say that having the IMEI hack in the wild is connected to my thread years ago about the citizen anti police-state protests and others where a state or corporate actor might ban IMEIs belonging to dissident groups or perhaps just innocently pinging a cell tower in an area of a disturbance as a punitive or security action. I believe that empowering end users to bypass such actions with an IMEI change and new SIM is a net positive for end users who might someday find their irreplaceable device blocked. Bad guys can just buy an new burner phone or pay a grey/black market kiosk, but there are no more N900s or other devices using standard GNU tools being made. We have made public the PIN code crack available on TMO, why not the IMEI?
In any case this is a device owned by us, we should have the controls of our device rather than censored only by the white hat community and only available to shops serving phone thieves and recyclers of lost or stolen phones.
 

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