Print 73 comment(s) - last by Darrington.. on Oct 21 at 2:38 AM

Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs can gloat -- they've once again foiled iPhone unlockers via a firmware update, this time to the bootrom shipping on new units.  (Source: Telegraph UK)

A screenshot of the new bootrom was posted by unlocker Mathieulh. The new bootrom began shipping this week.  (Source: iClarified)
Apple's strikes again, sending jailbreakers on their heels

Apple plays what its CEO Steve Jobs once likened to a game of "cat and mouse" with iPhone unlockers and jailbreakers.  Jailbreakers, like the iPhone Dev Team, try to release the iPhone from being limited to the official iTunes app store and other firmware restrictions, while unlockers, such as George Hotz, use the jailbreaks and other techniques to unlock the phone, allowing it to run on any hardware-supported network.

Usually the unlockers/jailbreakers seize the day, but occasionally Apple will win a round.  Apple has tried many approaches -- everything from "bricking" unlocked iPhones to denying jailbroken iPhones access to the iTunes store -- to halt the spread of unlocking in the U.S. and force people to use AT&T, despite the hardware being capable of working on other carriers such as T-Mobile.

Now, Apple has managed to gain an upper hand over the persistent hackers according to iClarified, thanks to the release of a new bootrom, iBoot-359.3.2.  The phone firmware, which shipped on new iPhone 3GSs starting this week, closes previously used doors to exploits.

A user named "Mathieulh" first noticed the new bootrom and took a screenshot.  It was subsequently confirmed by Muscle Nerd of the iPhone Dev Team that the loss of the 24kpwn exploit would render the iPhone unjailbreakable for the time being.  This means that the unlocking fixes, such as the utility released by George Hotz, also won't work anymore as they rely on jailbreaking as a preliminary step.

For users wishing to jailbreak, iPhone jailbreakers are hard at work trying to find alternative exploits that could be used to unlock the phone.  They suggest, in the meantime, that users purchase older stock of iPhones or buy refurbished units.

The iPhone 3GS was unlocked as soon as it was released, thanks to unlockers with iPhone Developer connections.  George Hotz used the iPhone Dev Team's exploit, along with his own methods, to publish a route to jailbreaking the phone just weeks later.

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RE: Correction
By amanojaku on 10/14/2009 10:41:52 AM , Rating: 5
Not even close. If a device has an update mechanism that mechanism can be exploited. Look at video games consoles, which are some of the most fixed systems on the market. We've been using special boot CDs and ROMs for years to overcome the system limitations like region encoding. Smartphones have firmware that can be overridden, making hacking that much easier. You just need the tools and the know how.

RE: Correction
By bhieb on 10/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Correction
By Murloc on 10/14/2009 12:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
you haven't got his point. That's not what he was saying.

RE: Correction
By erikejw on 10/15/2009 9:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
"I realize that in the hacking world there seems to be a nothing is impossible mentality. But your assumption is that even though Apple controls the OS, Firmware, Hardware and activation process they cannot create and unhackable phone."


"I would say if they really wanted to they probably can render it uncrackable."

Not as long as they use glass for the display

"I am not saying that they will, but with control over the entire device a skilled engineer should be able to do so."

Do you imply that Apple does not employ any skilled engineers?

RE: Correction
By 91TTZ on 10/14/2009 1:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
An update process does not in and of itself make a device unsecure. Only if there is a hole in that process. My computer has windows update on. Please take full control of it without me taking any action. Your logic says if I have auto updates on I can be hacked at any time right?

Your logic is faulty. You're comparing a user choosing to jailbreak their own phone to an external hacker trying to remotely take control of your PC. A better comparison would be someone jailbreaking their iPhone to someone hacking their own PC. When the user has the device in their physical possession they have the ability to take complete control over it. Once that phone is in the customers' hands, Apple's engineers are now the ones trying to control the device remotely.

If Apple sets their systems to not authenticate a phone unless it reports the latest firmware, then hackers will make their hacked OS report the latest firmware version.

RE: Correction
By Alexstarfire on 10/14/2009 1:47:12 PM , Rating: 1
Point us to something that is unhackable, that hasn't recently been put on the market, and I'll gladly just send you my computer for free. Go ahead... I'll give you a couple days to think about it then give up.

Only stipulation is give you is that it must be something in use. I believe the quantum computer is supposedly "unhackable" but that's in lab tests and can not be purchased.

RE: Correction
By barnie on 10/15/2009 5:22:07 AM , Rating: 2
NDS encryption as used by Sky UK has been THE most lucrative TV encryption standard to break for many years. The hardware's all in your hands (decoder, smartcard, there are even open-sourced CAMs emulating NDS decoding with a valid smartcard), but unlike most other satellite broadcasts out there, Sky's is not watchable without a smartcard. Some go as far as saying it will never be broken.

Do you really think a similar scheme can't be used to decode updates sent to a device?

RE: Correction
By dark matter on 10/15/2009 9:47:40 AM , Rating: 4
The reason that hasn't been cracked as it much more easier to crack cable. Hence all the resources have been poured into that.

Why spend all that effort to crack Sky when customers will just go out and buy a eurobox and watch all of skys programs for free on cable anyway?


RE: Correction
By RivuxGamma on 10/16/2009 6:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
OK. How about the center of the Sun? I'll take my free computer now. ;-)

RE: Correction
By lazylazyjoe on 10/16/2009 11:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
My ipod classic still isn't hackable. If it was then maybe I could have rockbox on it.
(I Think theyre close now with the nano 2g though.)

RE: Correction
By Darrington on 10/21/2009 2:38:08 AM , Rating: 2
My NES is unhackable. I'd love to play Pong on it.

RE: Correction
By deeznuts on 10/14/2009 12:55:56 PM , Rating: 2
Is the PS3 hacked yet? Not a rhetorical question, but I think it's the one that isn't fully hacked yet, right?

RE: Correction
By corduroygt on 10/14/2009 1:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
PS3 hasn't been hacked and it looks less likely that it'll ever be hacked.
Even the 360 hasn't completely been hacked, all that can be done on it is to flash the DVD rom firmware to play pirated games.
No way to replace the main OS and run stuff like XBMC and emulators on it yet.

RE: Correction
By Pirks on 10/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Correction
By invidious on 10/14/2009 5:08:55 PM , Rating: 1
And mabye no one will make any more stupid posts on the internet, but history suggests otherwise for both your claim and mine.

RE: Correction
By Pirks on 10/14/09, Rating: 0
RE: Correction
By Alexstarfire on 10/15/2009 1:57:27 AM , Rating: 1
Very little effort has been put into hacking the PS3 for very obvious reasons. There is little to be gained by hacking the PS3 other than playing pirated games. Problem with that is Blu-Ray is shit expensive so it's cost prohibitive all around, for the media and the drive. No one wants to make a $10 coaster.

I will say that if this iteration of the iPhone turns out to be unhackable that I will officially eat these words. Though there is very little that hasn't been hacked when you look back at things. Usually things that haven't been hacked haven't had a lot of effort put into them and become obsolete before it gets hacked. Some may call things like that unhackable.... but I'm not one to think that. Only way to have something unhackable is to not have human interaction at all, save perhaps the quantum computer. But if there is no human interaction then it's probably going to be useless anyway.

RE: Correction
By Darkefire on 10/14/2009 4:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's partially because there's little incentive. Until recently the PS3 was far and away the most expensive home console, so anyone that owned one would likely have more than enough money for games and little reason to break into their very expensive machine for such a low return on investment. Additionally, Blu-Ray media and burners are still quite expensive in comparison to the older DVD media used by the 360 and Wii; many games will soon be using the dual layer format, and a single blank dual layer BD-R disk will easily cost $20. You make a single coaster when trying to duplicate a game and you've pretty much spent as much on blank media as you would have on a used copy from Gamestop.

Finally, what's the point? There are so few 5 star titles exclusively for the PS3 that an owner wouldn't have already. I've been resolved to only buy a PS3 (and an HDTV, for that matter) when God of War 3 comes out, but seeing the catalog they have I'm wondering if I'm not better off just renting the console and the game for a week and saving myself $300.

RE: Correction
By invidious on 10/14/2009 5:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
There is plenty of incentive. If nothing else the fact that no one else has been able to do it is enough incentive for many in the hacking community.

The idea that no one wants to hack the ps3 is a tired and innacurate reasoning.

RE: Correction
By Reclaimer77 on 10/14/2009 7:11:37 PM , Rating: 1
+6 post.

They have just now, finally, released a game worth playing in my opinion called Deamon's Souls. I mean, how long has the thing been out lol

RE: Correction
By Pirks on 10/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Correction
By jdietz on 10/14/2009 4:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
So they made the PSP moddable on purpose?
Note: They fixed themselves...current PSP models are not moddable (PSP 3000 + PSP Go).
They must of hired some hardware security engineers shortly after release of the PSP.

RE: Correction
By Pirks on 10/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Correction
By corduroygt on 10/14/2009 10:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you so adamantly wish the iphone to become unhackable? I would never have bought mine if it couldn't be jailbroken and won't replace it with an unhackable model. And no I don't pirate the 3-5 dollar apps, I use it for tethering, voip over 3g, and unlocking to use different sim cards when I travel abroad.

RE: Correction
By Pirks on 10/14/09, Rating: -1
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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