updated 11:00 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Could open door to new hacks, jailbreaks, more
The custom-built version of iOS 5.0.1 re-released for the iPhone 4S earlier today by Apple features an accessible encryption key, allowing hackers the ability to browse the file system and examine code without pirating the software. A tweet from iOS hacker MuscleNerd revealed that the file system could be easily perused from a Mac or PC, calling it "wide open" (though he later qualified that he meant for examination rather than security).
With hackers able to get at the Siri files and other parts of the system, exploits could be found that would allow for untethered jailbreaks or unlocks, or customizations of Siri and the ability to run it on older or other hardware are conceivable. Apple is likely to revise or update iOS to close the encryption key in the near future, though access wasn't required in order to create earlier hacks to enable Siri on previous-generation iPhones and other iOS devices.
As has already been demonstrated, unauthorized hacks to Siri can create the possibility of security compromises, such as funnelling personal information to third-party servers.