Sony appears to be fighting a losing battle in preventing users from jailbreaking their PlayStation 3 consoles. In a recent Australian court ruling, a judge made permanent a previous ban on the distribution of the PSJailbreak dongle only to watch the software code behind a similar hack released for free into the wild. Naturally, Sony responded with a minor firmware update blocking these bits of code from working their mojo, but it's an ongoing cat and mouse game at best.
What we find most interesting, however, is how insanely easy it is to jailbreak a PS3. This is Sony's flagship console, after all, yet users have been able to jailbreak the device with everything from a Palm Pre to a calculator.
That's right, we said a calculator. Gizmodo has put together a collection of clips showing various devices cracking the PS3, and one of them includes the above mentioned hack (known as PSGroove) run from a TI-84. Pretty rad, no? Check it out below.
Homebrew prodigy Comex is best known for developing the only browser-based jailbreak for Apple's iOS devices. A Flash port for iOS called Frash also figures prominently on his list of achievements. Now, the latest version of Frash supports jailbroken iPhone 4s as well. In fact, the Flash port is only compatible with iOS devices with ARMv7 architecture-based processors: iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3G, iPad, iPhone 4. iOS4 / iPad 3.2.x.
Having a jailbroken iOS device is the first step on the road to installing Frash. Tech blog Redmond Pie has a helpful guide detailing the rest of the journey. But be warned that Frash is still not the most stable piece of code and only supports limited Flash content.
The newest jailbreak for Apple's iOS platform has exposed a serious exploit that could allow a remote attacker to compromise the device. The exploit is present in all iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches running version 3.1.2 and higher. The exploit doesn't even require any particular user intervention, just opening a malicious PDF document.
The user is just required to visit a web address in mobile Safari that will load a PDF document. The PDF contains malicious code hidden in a font. The font will cause a stack overflow, allowing the code to be run on the device. A hacker could conceivably do anything at that point. Anything from deleting files, to installing spyware in the background.
This is similar to an exploit early in the iPhone's existence that used TIFF images. But this time around there are many more iPhones in the world, so we expect Apple to take this pretty seriously. Users are cautioned to avoid any PDFs for the time being.
We're still celebrating the decision by U.S. regulators to add some much needed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which, among other things, makes it perfectly legal for users to jailbreak their iPhones and other mobile phones, and boy is that pissing off Apple.
"Apple's goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience," an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. "As we've said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhone as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably."
We bolded the warranty tidbit ourselves, because really, that's the part that some will construe as a veiled threat from Apple, and others will take as affirmation that, yes, your warranty goes out the window the minute you alter Jobs' magical handset in ways his Cupertino company doesn't approve.
Nobody really knows exactly how many jailbroken iPhones are out in the wild, though some estimates peg the number at around 10 million. And that was before this landmark ruling. With the Library of Congress handing the keys over to users, you can bet an increasing number of iPhone owners will drive off into what's no longer the Forbidden Zone.
Sure, Apple can kill your warranty for doing so, but that's all the company can do, right? Maybe not. If you haven't already, check out our latest edition of Murphy's Law, in which David Murphy explains why he thinks this is just the beginning of a frightening war between Apple and those would dare jailbreak their iPhones.
Huzzah! Throw up the flags! Send off the fireworks! Summon the townspeople! Apple has lost! The people have won! Huzzah!
I’m referring, of course, to Monday’s ruling by The Library of Congress, which explicitly carves out a legal exception for those looking to jailbreak their iPhones. No longer will industrious little hackers (or those who downloaded a one-button jailbreak app off the Interwebs) be subject to Digital Millennium Copyright Act smack-downs over their choice of Cydia instead of the App Store.
In short, so long as you’re jailbreaking your iPhone to make it work with a third-party application that, itself, isn’t kosher on a vanilla iPhone, you’re in the clear. I’m not quite sure what you would do with a jailbroken phone otherwise—perhaps smash it with a hammer to test its durability or something--but there you have it.
Now, we’ve won, right? The choice of how and why you use your iPhone has finally been wrested out of the turtleneck-laden hands of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The people are in control now, and we all have carte blanche to do with our handheld devices as we please! Yay!
Score a victory for Joe Consumer, who according to the U.S. government, is fully within his legal right to unlock his iPhone, or any other mobile phone, without having to look over his shoulder for Johnny Law. Not that Apple or anyone else would ever go crying to the cops for trivial matters (wait a tick), but it doesn't matter now anyway.
Federal regulators approved a bunch of new exemptions to a federal law that prohibits circumventing technical measures companies put into place to prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Apple has always taken the position that jailbreaking is an unauthorized modification of its software and violates copyright law, but under the new regulation, iPhone owners are within their legal right to unlock their mobile device and install third-party apps.
Regulators also approved the practice of unlocking cell phones to use on an unapproved carrier, another practice that already exists (scores of iPhone owners roll with unlocked phones on T-Mobile's network, even though the iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T) and is now out of the legal gray area.
There's not a whole lot to like about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but one of the more onerous provisions of the law is a ban on circumvention of DRM and similar "technical protection measures". The decision handed down today from the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress has resulted in three exemptions in this law. That is, three situations where it is now acceptable to break digital protection schemes.
The first exemption allows users to "Jailbreak" an iPhone or other handset in order to run legally obtained, but unapproved software. Apple had previously hinted that this activity could be illegal under the DMCA. This change was done to enable consumers to increase the interoperability of their devices. The EFF also secured new protections for artists that make fair use of copyrighted content in video remixes, or mashups. Noncomercial artists are now permitted to break digital protection for this purpose. Get ready for some YouTube celebration mashups.
The last ruling is not a new provision, but rather a renewal of an existing exemption. The Librarian of Congress reaffirmed a 2006 rule that protects cell phone unlocking from prosecution under the DMCA. The locking of a phone to one carrier makes it harder to use or resell later. It's important to note that none of these new exemptions mean that companies have to stop using DRM, just that we are actually allowed to break it in more situations.
In his tirade against Adobe's Flash platform, one of the reasons Steve Jobs says Apple doesn't allow the popular plug-in to run on Apple's iPhones, iPods, and iPads is because "Flash has not performed well on mobile devices." In fact, Steve Jobs claims his Cupertino company has "routinely asked Adobe to show us [Apple] Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now." Anyone think a demo of Flash running smooth on the iPad would change his mind?
Probably not, but that didn't stop iPhone hacker "comex" from demonstrating it anyway. This is the same guy who developed the Spirit untethered jailbreak tool for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and now he's gone and ported a version of Adobe Flash runtime for Android to run on the iPad using a compatibility layer, which he's calling "Frash."
"Frash can currently run most Flash programs natively in the MobileSafari browser," reads a description of the YouTube video showing Frash in action. "Frash currently only runs on the iPad, but support for other devices (3GS+ only due to technical restrictions" is planned, as well as support for iOS 4."
Comex says he'll release Frash when it's fully stable, and in the meantime, "developers are welcome to join the effort at http://github.com/comex/frash -- fork it an send a pull request with your patches."
On Saturday morning, Apple's iPad left the stable and went on sale. A little over 24 hours later, MuscleNerd of the iPhone Dev-Team said he had cracked the iPad by exploiting unpatched security flaws that migrated from iPhone OS 3.1.3 (the iPad uses an updated iPhone OS, version 3.2).
According to MuscleNerd'sTwitter update, it appears he used a variation of the same "Spirit" jailbreak recently applied to iPhone OS 3.1.3, taking advantage of the same browser-based exploit in order to gain root access and let unsigned apps run on the tablet.
It doesn't come as any surprise that someone managed to jailbreak the iPad, especially considering Apple neglected to plug a handful of security holes in between firmware releases. What is surprising, however, is how quickly this was done. Whether or not this hack will be made into an automated program remains to be seen.
Apple told us jailbreaking wasn’t a good idea. Sure, we mocked them at the time, but it is looking a little less safe these days. The first iPhone worm has been discovered affecting iPhones in Australia. The virus takes advantage of a massive security hole in the SSH client for jailbroken phones. The “ikee” worm is fairly benign, simply changing the user’s wallpaper to a picture of Rick Astley of “Rickroll” fame.
As it turns out, the default password for the SSH client is ‘alpine’. The worm accesses the phone via this route, and then attempts to infect other phones on the network. The worm’s creator, a 21 year-old student, said in an interview, “The virus itself is not malicious and is not out to hurt people. It's just poking fun and hoping waking people up a little.”
Un-jailbroken phones, and jailbroken phones that don’t have SSH installed are not vulnerable. Jailbreakers should head to the Cydia store, and use the Mobile Terminal app to change their default password. With a zillion iPhones out there, it was only a matter of time.