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Apple: Legal iPhone jailbreaks may be 'catastrophic'

updated 09:35 am EDT, Wed July 29, 2009

Apple fights EFF on iPhone

Offering sanction to iPhone jailbreaking would open the door to "potentially catastrophic" network attacks, Apple suggests. The company recently submitted a filing to the US Copyright Office, contesting a motion by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to make jailbreaking legally accepted. Jailbreaking is already widely practiced around the world, but potentially at risk from the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which presently states that "no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

Apple has profited substantially from a closed iPhone, which encourages use of the App Store, while deterring the adoption of unofficial carriers with which Apple does not have a subsidy agreement. The company says it is concerned about the security implications of jailbroken iPhones however, which it claims could be used to disable entire cellphone towers. A determined hacker could alter an iPhone's baseband processor and attempt to crash a tower, according to the USCO filing, using techniques such as denial of service attacks.

EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann has responded by calling the warning hyperbole, noting that "nothing like that has ever happened." He observes that approximately 1 million jailbroken phones are already in use, and that by Apple's definition, phones based on the open-source Google Android platform should be inherently dangerous. Celltower attacks are "more FUD [fear uncertainty and doubt] than truth," says von Lohmann.

Apple has also insisted that jailbreaking could be exploited by drug dealers, who might hack chip identification numbers to make anonymous calls.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +20

    wow

    Apple has also insisted that jailbreaking could be exploited by drug dealers, who might hack chip identification numbers to make anonymous calls.

    grasping at straws is the first thing that comes to mind when I read ridiculous statements like this.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    That does seem to be

    an exaggerated example, but I would still think that modifying the OS to run anything you want it to could be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Meaning you don't see all the possibilities of the OS being exploited.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +15

    DMCA sucks!

    SSIA

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    almost wanted to cry

    When I turned on my first computer it simply said "READY>"

    You could nothing else with the computer, except program it.

    Nowadays, we aren't sure if people should be allowed to write their own programs because it could be 'dangerous'

    Right Odo?

    OMG, just because a computer to you is a DVD player and a Web browser....to many of us a computer still, well COMPUTES.

    What Apple is saying is pure ignorance, and worse, they know better, so they are purposely misleading the ignorant.

    Your average computer can boot an OS, whether that is Windows, or a completely open source OS like Linux, or an OS that you wrote yourself in your garage.

    The computer is a tool, people are dangerous.

    It doesn't matter if jail breaking is sanctioned or not. It still exists.

    The knowledge it takes to launch a denial attack, is neither increased nor increased by allowing a consumer to use a different carrier other than AT&T.

    This has nothing to do with drug dealers.

  1. tcphoto

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    National Security Issues

    Next thing you know, Apple will be stating that Osama Bin Laden's group are using jailbroke iPhones;)

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    Wow

    How silly are these arguments?

    which it claims could be used to disable entire cellphone towers. A determined hacker could alter an iPhone's baseband processor and attempt to crash a tower, according to the USCO filing, using techniques such as denial of service attacks.


    How come this magically becomes a problem with the iPhone, but isn't a problem with:
    - Any other smart-phone, especially those that allow programs to be installed?
    - Any computer with a broadband network card?
    - Any computer with a guy with a little cell tower knowledge?

    iPhones are different and all. But that doesn't make them magical devices.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    Um...OK

    Here's a question.

    Wouldn't one think that if you were going to take down a cell network, you would be able to do it a whole lot easier by using a device running Windows Mobile, which, we're sure, has all the wonderful security safeguards built-in as you would fine on their desktop OS?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Um...OK

    Here's a question.

    Wouldn't one think that if you were going to take down a cell network, you would be able to do it a whole lot easier by using a device running Windows Mobile, which, we're sure, has all the wonderful security safeguards built-in as you would fine on their desktop OS?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +14

    drug dealers too?

    They forgot to mention that terrorists might use it for this purpose as well. And child pornographers and molesters. And Rush Limbaugh. And religious cults. And third-world strong-arm dictators.


    Actually, what they probably are most concerned by are "in-the-know Apple secret project personnel" leaking information anonymously.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +10

    re: National Security

    Can you prove Bin Laden has NOT jailbroken his iPhone?

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