Hackers Find Crack in RIM's Security Armor, BlackBerry PlayBook Gets Rooted
November 30, 2011 3:50 PM
comment(s) - last by
RIM vows to patch the security hole, if it is confirmed
The BlackBerry PlayBook
is veteran Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (
) first crack at a modern tablet. And with surprisingly solid hardware, access to Android's massive app catalog, and certain semi-exclusive high profile app titles (e.g. Dead Space) the PlayBook is a pretty attractive option.
Unfortunately it's just become a blemish on RIM's generally outstanding security record, if recent reports prove true. Reportedly the PlayBook has been rooted by three OS hackers, whose handles are xpvqs, neuralic, and Chris Wade. The hackers first announced their success
, then posted a video of the running exploit:
I. New Exploit Reportedly Works Across All Current QNX Versions
The alleged exploit used by the PlayBook hackers was dubbed "DingleBerry" --
slang term -- perhaps a disturbing play on the nickname "
The BlackBerry PlayBook [Image Source: RIM]
According to the creators it works both with the beta preview channel build of the PlayBook's
QNX operating system
, and for all released versions. It gives you privileged access to the core operating system files. And it persists between updates.
There is some interest in using the root to perform a full-fledged port of Android to the PlayBook, perhaps in a dual-boot configuration with QNX to retain access to the core BlackBerry services.
that they are investigating the rooting incident and will issue a patch if indeed the vulnerability is real.
II. To Root or Not To Root
In the word of security vulnerabilities, there's all sorts of levels of severity, but the most serious is a vulnerability that grants the user super-user/"root"-level privileges in a operating system. If a malicious attacker gains root access they can compromise all sorts of private data and personal interactions on a device, typically for financial gain.
On the other hand using vulnerabilties to root phones allows customers to overcome carrier and OEM restrictions placed on a device (i.e. "jailbreak" a device). For example,
rooting an iPhone
allows you to install wallpapers rather than face the same old boring black screen, which Apple, Inc. (
Some companies like Google Inc. (
) and Microsoft Corp. (
) have taken a tolerant approach [
] to rooting/jailbreaking. Their basic premise is that if they allow savvy developers to find a certain "back door" with the promise of non-disclosure, then non-malicious hardware hackers will spend less time searching for vulnerabilities, less vulnerabilities won't be published, and malicious hackers may not have any easy path to root action.
Apple, on the other hand, has actively fought rooting efforts [
] by non-malicious jailbreakers as they represent a threat to its revenue stream by allowing third party non-App Store applications, which Apple doesn't get a cut of the revenue from.
RIM hasn't had to practice either approach for the most part, as its platform has been tightly secured. And these days the company's waning popularity also helps lessen users' interest in rooting its device. Along with other features, like enterprise-quality encryption on the core services, RIM has buillt up a reputation for fine mobile security. That reputation has been a major selling point of BlackBerries in the corporate atmosphere.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/1/2011 7:17:07 AM
I'd say the fact that it took this long to be be rooted is a pretty good effort on security. Most devices are hacked within days of release, if not hours.
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
"Comex" Can Outsmart Apple, But Still Has to Deal With His Parents
August 1, 2011, 5:20 PM
Apple's iOS Updates Kill Only iPad 2 Jailbreak
July 18, 2011, 8:45 AM
BlackBerry PlayBook Review Roundup
April 13, 2011, 9:52 PM
Gingerbread ROM for EVO, Droid Eris in the Works
December 7, 2010, 9:17 AM
Jailbreakers Free Apple TV From Its Maker's Restrictions
October 1, 2010, 11:03 AM
Sony's Xperia Z3 Gets Detailed in Leaked Photos
July 25, 2014, 2:30 PM
Heavy Users of Verizon’s “Unlimited” LTE Data Could Soon See Targeted Throttling
July 25, 2014, 1:52 PM
Motorola Moto X+1 Makes Appearance in Leaked Photos
July 25, 2014, 12:06 PM
Sony Finally Adds 3D Blu-ray Support to PS4
July 24, 2014, 3:44 PM
IDC: Although Apple Remains at Top of Tablet Market, Share Falls from 33% to 26.9%
July 24, 2014, 1:24 PM
Thanks in Part to Strong G3 Launch, LG Sells 14.5 Million Smartphones in Q2
July 24, 2014, 10:18 AM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Kills Entertainment Unit, May Shelve Flagship Lumia "McLaren"
July 18, 2014, 7:40 PM
JJ Abrams Unveils X-Wing Starfighter for New "Star Wars" Movie
July 21, 2014, 12:24 PM
Ford Details ’15 F-150’s 325hp, 2.7L EcoBoost V6; Demonstrates 732-lb Weight Loss
July 22, 2014, 6:55 PM
Comcast Memo: Harassing Customers During Retention Calls Actually IS Our Policy
July 22, 2014, 5:19 PM
Motorola Moto G Successor Reportedly Uncovered, Moto X Discounted by up to $75
July 21, 2014, 1:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information