Jailbroken iPhone Unauthorised Tethering: How AT&T Tracks

Now some of the iPhone jailbreak brigade likes to enjoy tethering their jailbroken iOS smartphone and avoiding forking out for an upgraded tethering plan, but AT&T sent out SMS messages and emails letting their customers know if said customer continue to tether they would be charged for it.

So how does AT&T keep track of who is going the unauthorised tether route with their jailbroken iPhone? Well according to an article over on Maclife, by way of Redmond Pie, the guys over at Android Police have apparently discovered how AT&T can track customer’s tethering.

Here’s what the Android Police article says… “Jailbroken iPhones typically use the same tethering technique as a standard iPhone, the one that’s already present in iOS. This method exposes tethering activity quite readily, because the iPhone, when in tethering mode, sends traffic through an alternate APN (AT&T access point/router) for the express purpose of identifying the traffic as tethered data. This makes it extremely easy for AT&T to identify whether or not an iOS device is utilizing tethering, and just how much of their data is consumed via tethering.

Some tethering applications for iOS make use of alternative methods and route tethered traffic through the phone’s normal data APN, but by and large, most jailbreakers stick with the stock application because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any complicated setup. In fact, many iPhone users jailbreak for the sole purpose of avoiding AT&T’s tethering fees (for why, see next section). These are the people AT&T’s is going after.”

Apparently one of the popular jailbreak-apps for tethering is MyWi, which apparently exposed the users activity to AT&T and will probably result in AT&T getting in contact so the user can get official tethering. However word is there is another app that AT&T can’t track called PdaNet, which is available from Cydia.

So there you go, how AT&T tracks unauthorised tethering on jailbroken iPhones and an app on how to avoid getting caught…feel free to let us know if you decide to use the PdaNet app from now on.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Jailbroken iPhone Unauthorised Tethering: How AT&T Tracks”

  1. Reply
    Kaz says:

    I can second that the PdaNet app does attempt to hide the usage of tethering. I have found that it masks the browser, browser version, and platform in use and replaces it by saying that the computer is running Linux and Mozilla 5.0 is in use when Level I is chosen. When Level II is chosen, the browser is represented as Safari on iPhone OS. The reason that there are two separate options for this is because that when Level II is chosen so all traffic seems to be coming from an actual iPhone, this tricks websites as well and directs you to the mobile website for the domain. Level I uses a web browser that is still in development and an operating system that is least likely to be used by unauthorized tethering users, giving users a "desktop-like" web experience instead of a mobile one.

    I am not sure if this is actually how AT&T is tracking unauthorized tethering, but it seems like a very possible method.

    I am sure that there is a way to change these settings on your computer so jailbreakers may continue to use their choice of tethering apps.

  2. Reply
    Robert Larson says:

    I have been using PdaNet for the past year and I still got a email and SMS from AT&T saying to stop tethering. It does not completely hide the unauthorized tethering use. Just my 2 cents.

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