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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Correction
By bhieb on 10/14/2009 10:56:56 AM , Rating: -1
Wow that is a lot of assuming you are doing.

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?

Just because game consoles have holes that were not patched (proably because the manufacture did not want to put the effort forth), does not mean they could not be fixed. And a fixed device is far different from one that authenticates to a network.

Your last point is sort of true, as the article states and older or refurb phone will work, and thus a new phone could if it was flashed backward. But as I said if they REALLY wanted to they could not allow any device to activate/authenticate to the network if they don't have version x of the firmware. This would screw their old customers and cause a huge increase in help tickets, but they could.

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.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki