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Apple: Jailbroken iPhones enable ‘catastrophic’ network attacks

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

In a new comment filing with the U.S. Copyright Office and published by Wired, Apple claims that hackers, wielding jailbroken iPhones could cause “potentially catastrophic” results. Apple explains that the iPhone’s operating system — which is modified during the jailbreak process — controls the device’s baseband processor (BBP), which in turn controls the phone’s connection to the cellular provider’s network. The company argues that changes made to the BBP could result in inoperable phones, anonymous communications via a changed Exclusive Chip Identification (ECID) number — which “would be desirable to drug dealers” — and could also be used to facilitate an attack on the cellular network, crashing tower software, and possibly more. “In short, taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer – to potentially catastrophic result,” Apple claims. The company’s comments are part of an ongoing battle with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which proposed a new exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which would explicitly allow jailbreaking of iPhones.

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Comments

1

Huh. Maybe if Apple did not give people a reason to jailbreak, such as banning Google Voice applications, then this would not be such a problem.

Posted by J on July 29, 2009 at 6:34 AM (PDT)

2

Yet another case of “you own but don’t really own the product”?

Posted by John Mc on July 29, 2009 at 6:55 AM (PDT)

3

This is such obvious bullsh*t, way to take your smarter customers for complete idiots.

Posted by Jones on July 29, 2009 at 6:56 AM (PDT)

4

I agree, I jailbreak my iPhone specifically so that I can load backgrounder. With the 3GS’s doubled RAM amount, it is more than capable of playing Slacker Radio in the background while I do other tasks. Many users also like that Winterboard allows them to skin THEIR devices as they please.

Posted by Steve-O on July 29, 2009 at 6:58 AM (PDT)

5

Living in the UK where Apple has a forced selection of one network that has no coverage where I live (despite its coverage data stating it does) so I can see why people do it.

People will always want more control that Apple give, but if they had some options for their customers they would not themselves be driving legitimate customers to try jailbreaking their phones just so they can own an iPhone and make calls where they live.

Its not like you can even by a network free phone in the UK either - Jailbreak is the only way to another network.

Posted by Paul on July 29, 2009 at 7:26 AM (PDT)

6

I was not a fan of jailbreaking.  Didn’t do it for the first year I had my iPhone.  But Apples decision to take down Google Voice apps made me decide to jailbreak last night out of protest.

Posted by DJ on July 29, 2009 at 7:29 AM (PDT)

7

Since the iPhone is NOT the FIRST and ONLY smartphone on the market to be “jailbroken”, can they PROVE this as a fact using other phones and networks as examples?

Or does this all sound a little too much like PARANOIA?

Posted by ahMEmon on July 29, 2009 at 8:19 AM (PDT)

8

I thought at beginning that I would never jailbreak, then after 12 month I did jailbreak my iPhone 3G. I found a few nice apps but I didn’t liked that all of a sudden I had additional apps installed without me actually downloading them. Since I’m a system analyst, I was kind of concerend about this. I also noticed that my iPhone started to perform slower and slower. so I decided to remove the jail break and go back to the apple setup/way.

I hate to see that many good apps are not approved but I do not really trust a thirdparty apps which have the potential to steal value information of my iPhone liek my bank account info and so more. that why i decided to stay with the apple setup but every here and then I’m still tempted.

Posted by dennis on July 29, 2009 at 11:39 AM (PDT)

9

Scientific studies show that jailbreaking is the first step on a slippery slope towards drug dealing and terrorism :p

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on July 29, 2009 at 11:48 AM (PDT)

10

If apple really wants to stop people from jailbreaking, then they should add new features like being able to customize your itouch or iphone fully, which is the reason most people will jailbreak.  No, i did not jailbreak my itouch, because i dont want to have to bay 278 bucks for a new one if something goes wrong, but at times am very tempted to.

Posted by weirdalguy360 on July 29, 2009 at 3:31 PM (PDT)

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