Apple V. iPhone Hackers: Round 827,045 - InformationWeek

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12/15/2008
09:27 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Apple V. iPhone Hackers: Round 827,045

Today, Apple issued software update 10.5.6 for its Leopard operating system. Included in the code was a covert strike against iPhone jailbreakers. Users who've installed 10.5.6 can no longer use the Pwnage tool to jailbreak their iPhones.

Today, Apple issued software update 10.5.6 for its Leopard operating system. Included in the code was a covert strike against iPhone jailbreakers. Users who've installed 10.5.6 can no longer use the Pwnage tool to jailbreak their iPhones.The tit-for-tat between Apple and iPhone hackers shows no sign of abating. After hackers first broke into the iPhone's software, Apple issued a firmware update that locked it back up. Hackers broke in again. Apple locked it up again with another firmware update. This has gone back and forth for over a year now. At this point, the iPhone Dev Team is so good, it can unlock the iPhone again within hours (sometimes) of the new firmware updates.

In addition to protecting the iPhone through firmware updates, Apple is now employing a new tactic. Apple is hoping to prevent jailbreaking by disabling the jailbreaking software at the desktop/laptop level. Ars Technica reports, "The [10.5.6] update prevents your Mac from recognizing your iPhone or iPod in DFU mode. DFU mode refers to the device firmware update mode that has been used for communicating directly with your unit at a high level. iTunes uses DFU mode for firmware restores, among other things."

The new code affects the USB ports on Apple computers at the driver level and how they interact with the iPhone. I decided to test this out, and sure enough, I could not jailbreak my first generation iPhone with the existing Pwnage tool.

Whether or not the iPhone Dev Team can develop a work-around to combat this issue is unknown, but I am sure they are working on it.

...Just as Apple is likely already preparing its next salvo in the on-going battle with iPhone hackers.

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