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Guide To Building a Cable That Improves iOS Exploits

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the slurping-assistant dept.

Australia 184

mask.of.sanity writes "An Aussie network engineer has published a guide to building a serial cable connector that allows access to a secret kernel debugger hidden within Apple iOS. The debugger was a dormant iOS feature carried over from Apple OS, and seems to serves no function other than to allow hackers to build better exploits. The cable needs an external power source and a jailbroken device to access the debugger." We've mentioned Pollock's serial adapter kit before, modulo the kernel debugging abilities.

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Another non-exploit (-1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020094)

So this is again one of these "exploits" that Epple took care of but the jailbreaking community didn't. I guess everyone is going to blame Apple again.

Yet another way to build better exploits: decompile the kernel. I guess Apple should prevent that as well or they'll be found guilty.

Re:Another non-exploit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020106)

If consumer access was unintended but a way to get to it was found, I would call it an exploit either way.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020118)

it it was an exploit that was taken care of them it would be a exploit now so it wasn't taken care of to start with so they are to blame.

Re:Another non-exploit (0)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020124)

wouldn't be an exploit now. this site needs the option to edit your posts

Re:Another non-exploit (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020248)

this site needs the option to edit your posts

Totally. Nobody would abuse that. No way.

Re:Another non-exploit (0, Offtopic)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020374)

Other sites seem to work fine with an edit feature.

Re:Another non-exploit (-1, Offtopic)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020482)

Those sites dont reward certain types of comments.

Re:Another non-exploit (-1, Offtopic)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020546)

To be fair, there's no reason why /. couldn't implement an edit feature and keep the edit history available as well. Hell, even just append the post with the edited post and show the original as scored out text just above it, or hidden under a "show original" button that's quite obvious. That way nobody can abuse it to make it look like they said something else without making themselves look like an idiot. And if you're really concerned about the "reward" system, have the system ignore any post that's been edited for any reason, which would also encourage people not to abuse it and those that do won't get any benefit for it.

Of course, that would probably require some effort from the slashdot web monkeys.

Re:Another non-exploit (0, Offtopic)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020750)

Mod points are handed to the ppl who comment a lot. These same people don't read the articles and half the time don't even read the summaries.

You either need to give up the moderation system or have properly trained mods.

Re:Another non-exploit (-1, Offtopic)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020552)

What reward? Karma? Pfft. That's so easy to get it's laughable.

Besides: Editing your comment wouldn't have to undo a moderation. So If you make a really bad comment and get modded down to -1 for it, changing the comment won't necessarily improve your score in time to change the moderation.

Also, why can't a time limit be put on it? Say, 4 hours. So if you fire off a hasty flame post, but then calm down later and realize how stupid you sound, you can go back a bit later and change it. I think that's a great idea. Prevents stupid flame posts from staying up without moderators having to waste points on it, and raises the overall dialog level.

The only really "exploitable" thing I could see was if someone put up a really good post, got a +5 for it, and then edited it to be a spam post or a link to a virus or something along those lines. But since the high-marked posters are fairly well known, I don't see that as being a huge issue.

Re:Another non-exploit (-1, Offtopic)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020726)

The reward isn't 'karma', it's the word Insightful next to people's posts. That alone counts for most of the noise on this site.

Your example of an exploit is a rather important one.

Re:Another non-exploit (0, Offtopic)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020882)

Instead of spouting venom, learn some self control. There is no need to edit posts.

If you need to edit it, you probably didn't need to write it.

If you're editing it because you misspelled something, take that as a sign that you should proofread before submitting. (guilty as charged)

Re:Another non-exploit (0)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020156)

Where did you read exploit? It says that the kernel debugger can serve as a tool for exploiters.

Leave your stupid fanboyism at the door next time, please...

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020210)

Besides it isn't like this just magically opened a way to exploit an OS that had never ever been exploited in the past. Ya see, this is what I don't get about the whole fanboyism thing, the divorce from reality. News Flash: ALL OPERATING SYSTEMS CAN BE EXPLOITED!!!

A wise person once said the only way to make a truly unhackable computer was to lock it in a safe and drop it in a hole and that is the truth. No matter how smart the guys that write the OS think they are there is somebody smarter out there and if they want to dedicate the time and energy they WILL find a way in, I don't care if it is cell, desktop, or server, I don't care if it is made by Apple, MSFT, or some Linux group. All it takes is will and knowledge and time and the knowledge and time parts get shorter all the time thanks to this little thing we called the Internet allowing those that want to hack to have plenty of places to learn.

As for TFA any security person will tell you that if you have access to the hardware you are 90% of the way there. I doubt Apple really cares much about this since it seems like to big of a PITA for the average Apple customer. Most folks aren't gonna be cooking up special cables and cracking the case just to jailbreak the thing.

But this does illustrate something I don't get about Apple, which is why they don't just do like Sony did with OtherOS before they screwed the pooch and take away the incentive to hack it in the first place? Just have a relatively simple way to call up a menu that says "By clicking here you give up your warranty in return for jailbreaking the device. Once chosen this CANNOT BE UNDONE" and then let the customer decide if they want to break it or not?

Re:Another non-exploit (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020264)

ALL OPERATING SYSTEMS CAN BE EXPLOITED!!!

You're a moron.

Insecurity isn't an inevitability.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020280)

If you can hold the computer in your hand, security has little to do with the operating system.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020348)

Okay, then, CPU?

I think that it's absurd to have the opinion that nothing is unhackable. I think it's feasible to think that there may come a day when security gets tight enough that a computing system for consumer use could become exploit-proof. Look at the PS3. It wasn't until that USB boot exploit was discovered was the thing broken open.

Yes, it's a bit of special pleading, but, most attack vectors were covered. Sony did learn from the PSP. It's conceivable that there could be a day when the only way to hack a machine to run arbitrary code is to intercept the CPU itself, and even that's theoretically beatable.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020776)

> If you can hold the computer in your hand, security has little to do with the operating system.

That belief is, of course, completely mistaken and is the source of endless exploits inside wireless equipped LAN's and offices that "trust the people they work with". The threshold is deliberately left so low by both engineers and policy managers with this belief, as a matter of personal convenience, that rootkits and exploits run rampant inside "closed" networks and devices that entirely ignore local security as a matter of policy.

The very low security threshold of such access is ludicrous, and should _never_ have been permitted.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020318)

While I agree with you from a theoretical standpoint, the complexity of modern operating systems more or less guarantees that nobody with a finite amount of time will ever be able to secure one 100%.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020584)

And you're wrong - there are provably secure operating systems.

Then there are just plain scarily secure operating systems: QNX and (to lesser extent) VxWorks. QNX in particular has just about 2000 lines of kernel-level code which is highly audited, tested and probably damn near bug-free.

Similar approaches are already used in hypervisors. It's certainly possible to make a provably secure hypervisor, for example.

Re:Another non-exploit (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020358)

Insecurity isn't an inevitability.

As long as there is a human at the keyboard, yes, it is.

Re:Another non-exploit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020452)

ALL OPERATING SYSTEMS CAN BE EXPLOITED!!!

You're a moron.

Insecurity isn't an inevitability.

If you think your statement is true, you're the moron. Unless its a completely closed system, security is never perfect.

Chicken and Egg? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020112)

Wait... so in order to use the cable to find exploits, you need a jailbroken device. But in order to jailbreak your device, you need to first find an exploit.

* Yes, I do know that there are other ways to find exploits...

Find new holes for future exploits (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020176)

Steps are :
# circumvent Apple security features* (aka jailbreak) your iPhone using currently known security holes and gain root level access
# uses this tool to find new security holes and keep silent about them, hoping neither Apple nor hackers with malicious intend find them too
# when Apple plugs already found security holes, hope it didn't plug the ones you just found so you can repeat step 1 on the newly released (hopefully) more secure firmware

PS : I know that the App stores ALSO introduces censorship but for MOST users and applications, it first and foremost blocks buggy/malicious/infringing applications (this is such a troll bait that I preferred to be an anonymous coward).

Re:Find new holes for future exploits (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020690)

The App Store censors pornography. Most users are also consumers of pornography. Most users are thus affected by the censorship.

Q.E.D., bitch.

when i think back to years gone by (0, Troll)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020148)

I remember the days when apple play commercials claiming their OS don't get virus's, malware, etc. Now we see these story's weekly proving that all the load of bull apple claimed about their OS was nothing more them a lot of S

Re:when i think back to years gone by (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020158)

there are no viruses for iOS unless you're stupid enough to modify the OS by jailbreaking it.

show me some malware, please. I'd like to see it.

[citation needed]

Re:when i think back to years gone by (2, Informative)

The123king (2395060) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020232)

The opinion that Jailbreaking is "stupid" is exactly that, an opinion. There are many reasons to jailbreak, and in reality, you're only more vulnerable than unjailbroken iDevices to viruses if you don't change your default SSH passwords[1]. If you don't do that, then it's you who's stupid. [1]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8373739.stm

Re:when i think back to years gone by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020658)

I'm a big fan of jailbreaking, or in general rooting your own devices, but you're either wrong or being very disingenuous on one point:

you're only more vulnerable than unjailbroken iDevices to viruses if you don't change your default SSH passwords

Jailbreaking removes the signed executable checking at the OS level. This is how iBooks checked for jailbroken devices--it tried to run an improperly signed executable and warns the user if it succeeds (and, then, won't open your books.)

Citation: http://socialapples.com/blog/2011/02/15/apple-cripples-ibooks-for-jailbreakers/ [socialapples.com]

By jailbreaking, you significantly increase your threat surface. Although it won't likely affect the initial vector of compromise, it makes it easier to do nasty things once the malware can run any code on the device.

Re:when i think back to years gone by (2)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020246)

That's like saying "Windows Vista doesn't get viruses if you use a Microsoft Certified Firewall Solution, Microsoft Certified Anti-Virus Solution, only install Microsoft Certified software and don't open files from outside your own network in addition to exercising due diligence and having your computer serviced by a Microsoft Approved Technician weekly."

Also: jailbreaking uses the same mechanism as viruses do to get onto your iPhone. A virus could well jailbreak your iPhone and install itself without you even knowing given an appropriate exploit (such as the Adobe Reader exploit from a while back).

Re:when i think back to years gone by (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020554)

played
didn't
viruses
stories
than

Re:when i think back to years gone by (3, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020684)

I remember the days when apple play commercials claiming their OS don't get virus's, malware, etc.

That was in the old days when major Windows applications required you to run as administrator, when mail messages could silently install software and an unpatched XP machine connected to the internet would be infected before you had a chance to download the patches. Win 7 has done a lot to reduce that, which may by why Apple dropped the ads...

An iOS exploit that requires physical access to the machine, a custom cable and only works on a machine which has already been jailbroken (i.e. deliberately cracked by the legitimate user) isn't exactly in the same league as the sort of remote pwnage seen on PCs in the Bad Old Days.

Re:when i think back to years gone by (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020822)

It was particularly hilarious given the virus-fest that was Classic MacOS. No memory protection until what, late OS 8? And nothing good for anything until 9. I had to run two antivirals on Classic MacOS... gatekeeper and disinfectant. Such snazzy names.

Having to jail break your own freaking phone (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020152)

It's amazing that Apple and Jobs in it are so shortsighted that they don't provide official tools that people want. Of-course they have contracts with AT&T and who knows what else, that's most likely why they don't want to let people use these devices as general purpose computers, so that normal apps could be executed (and then you can use Skype or whatever to go around long distance phone charges obviously). But still, this is just so screwed up that a company would not see that it is in its best interest to sell the phone with the maximum possible features in it. OK, have an official Apple utility to so called "jail break" the thing and enter another lucrative market of various adapters and gadgets that could be then used together with the phone.

These devices are general purpose computers with wireless access and an odd phone application installed on them. Let the people use them the way they want to.

Of-course the unwillingness of Apple to allow people to use their own freaking product the way they want to provides HUGE market for all the other types of phones (Android) to fill that gap. It's just the short-sightedness of Apple is amazing in this instance.

Get out of bed the wrong side did we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020180)

Forget IOS and consider the after market stuff you can buy for your car.

- Big bore exhaust - Tick
- 30Kw Sound System - Tick
- 6.5ltr Supercharged engine - Tick

You do all of that and then the back axle falls apart. So you go to the manufacturer and claim on the warranty.
When theyhave finished laughing they will tell you to get lost. You made changes to the item that was sold. That affected the operation.
You are So Out Of Luck

Now return to the IOS issue.
You bought an IOS device. YOU modified it and now you get malware.
Just how is this Apple's problem?

Re:Get out of bed the wrong side did we? (0)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020408)

LMAO!!

Physical damage != Software damage.

That and I used to work at a dealership. They will pay for a lot of stuff under warranty. Even if the vehicle is no longer under warranty, if you make enough noise they will usually accommodate you somewhat, aftermarket parts or not. I saw people who had blown motors due to not changing the oil except every 30 thousand miles, get significant discounts because they made enough noise.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1, Interesting)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020284)

Yes, because the alternative is... no, wait, Android devices don't let you access root so easily either. Hang on, I'll come up with something...

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020304)

To be honest, I don't actually know. I don't own any fancy device like that, my phone is a very very very simple tiny nokia, I disabled every feature on it that I could and removed the camera. I made an assumption that there is a market for more open phones and I believe, (maybe incorrectly), that Android based phones are more open than iPhones. I could be wrong, but that would amaze me actually. They are not more open?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (2)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020326)

I made an assumption that there is a market for more open phones and I believe, (maybe incorrectly), that Android based phones are more open than iPhones. I could be wrong, but that would amaze me actually. They are not more open?

They are as open as each individual manufacturer wants them to be - which, in many cases, is pretty damn closed up.

Sure there are ways to open them up, just like you can open up the iPhone, but it's not a simple process on a lot of them.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020414)

They are as open as each individual manufacturer wants them to be - which, in many cases, is pretty damn closed up.

Not anymore. HTC put out an official statement back in May (issued by the CEO himself) that they will not be locking the bootloaders on any new devices. Samsung responded in April with a similar (albeit unofficial) statement.

Motorola are the only manufacturer who seem to be stuck in the "don't give the customer what they want" rut, but they haven't exactly been setting the Android world on fire since the original Droid.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

hexapodium (1265360) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020548)

HTC are actually going to continue to ship phones with locked bootloaders, and release an unlocking tool [pcworld.com] on the support website for them: presumably it's a warranty and support thing, and possibly a security one as well: it sounds pretty convoluted, but then, so is the current root exploit - su binary - engineering bootloader - S-OFF process to get custom firmware on there anyway. I'd prefer them to just have a button in the settings menu (like the Nexus One had for root), but the extra layers of "here be dragons" will probably stop people from doing it without realising the implications of trusting a firmware dev - if you could reflash phones straight-up, I suspect we'd see a bunch of custom Kesha ROMs loaded with trojans.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020644)

This is percisely why I chose an Andriod over an IPhone. In my opinion the Iphone is a sleeky and maybe even a supperior product. However, it is locked and tied down to Apple and you can forget about developing software for it without a mac. Itunes for Windows sucks.

Andriod was simply more open. Some of them even are rooted at the store like my mine. If you buy them under an agreement more than likely they will give you a crippled phone as you do not own it and they want you stuck in a payment plan.

Also I do not have to pay for development tools with Andriod either. XCode is no longer free so if I wanted to develop an IPhone app I would have to pay well over $1,000 for a mac, then $99 for an XCode account, and who knows what else for the SDK. With Andriod Java is free, eclipse is free (that is what the Andriod SDK tools use), and I can run on MacOSX, Windows, or Linux. Hmm gee I am going to pick Android.

Even though my phone is rooted I will say that DRM is a service running on my phone so they are not totally free I guess but I assume this is a requirement from Verizon and the media companies.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020416)

something like this? http://www.electronista.com/articles/11/05/26/htc.ceo.promises.android.bootloaders.clear/

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020500)

The alternative is Windows Mobile 6.5.

Which doesn't support any permissions other than root.

Enjoy!

Oh, you don't like that? Well, I'm sure there's an old Centro running Palm OS 5.4.9 lying around...

(Actually, on a serious note, HPalm hands out the password necessary to get the USB debug interface going, and from there you can easily get root and install whatever you want. Also, if you get a Nexus phone, you can get root without hacking the thing, using an adb, IIRC, and you get an OS that actually has software available - but some software will refuse to run on a rooted device.)

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020674)

6.5 is old news and obsolete like Symbian.

Windows Mobile 7 is out and Mango 7.5 is pre-release and about to hit market in a few weeks. According to sites like www.amplicate.com the platform has very good ratings. The gui is very well thoughout and it is identical to Windows 8 and syncs with your desktop much better than an Andriod (I do not know about Iphones).

You own the phone and there are other permissions too. Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier frankly sucked. Microsoft has to prove itself after a decade of poor WindowsCE products. I think they finally nailed it and glad they started over fresh. Newer apps need to be rewritten but the mobile IE 9 has the same html5test.com score as the desktop version which is very interesting. I guess you wont have bugs like slashdot rendering poorly because it thinks my Andriod 2.1 phone is Chrome.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020510)

Android devices don't let you access root so easily either

Android-powered devices don't require root access just to install non-Market applications.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020624)

My Samsung Galaxy S has root access. What's the problem?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020292)

I'm sure having record year over year profits is so short sighted. :) Even over a year after the iPhone 4 came out, it's still outselling individual phones from the likes of HTC and Samsung.

People want products they can use now, not products they might be able to get to work with some hacking.

I'm amazed geeks DO NOT GET IT.

At all.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020308)

Even over a year after the iPhone 4 came out, it's still outselling individual phones from the likes of HTC and Samsung.

Its not such a good comparison. Here's why. You use a smartphone to run certain programs on it (or to look good or whatever).

If you want an Android phone, you have tons of choice. Most of them will run the same software, and so you just choose your price range or whatever.

If you want an iOS phone you basically either buy second hand, or buy the current iPhone.

So the iPhone isn't better than 'individual' phones, its just the only choice you have if you want iOS

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020484)

I'm sure you had a point to your post, but it must have got lost in translation. You went to a lot of length to tell him the iPhone isn't better than "individual" phones, but I don't believe he said anything about that? It seems like you were arguing with yourself, and based on how poorly the post was written I'd say you lost. . . .

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (3, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020598)

He used the assertion that it outsells "individual" phones as proof that apple got their strategy right. I disputed the his proof and not the conclusion.

If you notice his second sentence was "People want" which is a stepping stone based on how they're purchasing iPhones more than any other individual phone.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020522)

"If you want an Android phone, you have tons of choice. Most of them will run the same software, and so you just choose your price range or whatever."

It's the whatever that non-geeks (and many geeks) don't care for, and they have no clue what whatever is anyway. Probably the reason why customer satisfaction is off the charts for iPhones, and not so stellar for Android. When you buy an Android phone you may get x, y or z (yes, they're all Android, but futzed with in different ways by different carriers). When you buy an iPhone you always get an iPhone. Most people like that.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020704)

And IOs is the choice for App developers because those Android phones don't in fact all run the same software.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020314)

Well, my phone is a very simple nokia, all features are off, camera is removed. So from my POV if I wanted to get a device similar to iPhone or some Android based thing it wouldn't be because it's a phone, it would be because it's a tiny computer.

However saying that because Apple has excellent profits now with the phones locked doesn't at all mean that they couldn't have even more profits if they allowed an option (maybe for some extra money) to those who wanted this option to remove any sort of protection against USER using the device the way they wanted to, and then to sell various gadgets and attachments for these phones. Why would that make them less profit rather than more? Doesn't seem logical.

Again, just because they have large profits now, doesn't mean they couldn't have even more profits by luring in more customers who want more out of their hand held computers.

iOS developer program (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020600)

However saying that because Apple has excellent profits now with the phones locked doesn't at all mean that they couldn't have even more profits if they allowed an option (maybe for some extra money) to those who wanted this option to remove any sort of protection against USER using the device the way they wanted to

Apple already offers this option. It costs $649 to buy a Mac mini if you don't already own a Mac, and then $99 per year to join the iOS developer program.

Re:iOS developer program (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020656)

I understand this is 'tongue in cheek' sort of, but then if that is true, then I am correct, it makes them more money to sell the ability to break the devices out of jail and do whatever you want with them.

If this is how they do it and it makes them more profit, then it is what it is. They are not reaching many more consumers with it, just a very select few though, so it's still a very limited option.

Re:iOS developer program (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020844)

if that is true, then I am correct, it makes them more money to sell the ability to break the devices out of jail and do whatever you want with them.

Exactly. It's actually based on the deal that Microsoft introduced with Xbox Live Indie Games: buy a new PC with Windows and pay $99 per year for App Hub and you'll get the right to develop Xbox 360 games in C#. This model is actually less closed than it used to be with the other game consoles and BREW smartphones, where one had to have "relevant industry experience" in order to qualify for a devkit. And in order to gain such experience, one had to leave his family behind and move to the same city as an established mainstream video game development firm.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020342)

No, people want status symbols. Overpriced phones from Apple are perfect status symbols for people with to much money to spend. We geeks get it 100%, it is just that we despise it because it disguists us.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020454)

What is it that "we geeks" get?

I had both an iPhone and an iPhone 3G, before getting pissed off with iOS 4 on the 3G enough to decide to try out the Android side of the story.

I acquired a new HTC Desire in February, and merrily set about using it as my main phone. Today is the 8th of August, so I have been using my HTC for around 6 months as my main phone - and the conclusion I have come to is that I absolutely hate it.

I have to dig around in subscreens to get to the apps I want - on the iPhone I just scroll left or right on the home screen, but on Android I only have six homescreen slots for apps, the other home screens are taken up with applets, mail and other shite, so I have to open the apps screen specifically, and then dig around in there.

The back button on the HTC is unbelievably broken - it entirely depends on what you were doing before as to what action it has. Does it return you to the home screen or to the previous page in the app? It depends! For example, I get a text message while my phone is locked - I unlock the phone and the message is displayed. I now want to refer to another message I have received previously, and since I am in the SMS app (as that is what is loaded), I click the back button to get to the message list. And I get dumped to the phones home screen instead. If I open the SMS app myself, the back button works as expected! Lots of examples such as that.

The Android Market Place is a terribly poor user experience, I utterly hate using it - its hard to find apps, its hard to search, its hard to preview apps. The AppStore just seems so much better put together, especially when browsing from the device itself!

I have had far far more interface issues with the HTC than I did with either of my iPhones - for example, the other day I was on the phone to a colleague, and the call dropped - but the HTC wouldn't let me hang up! It was sat there on the call screen, with the "End Call" button active but nothing on the line - and each time I clicked "End Call" it would briefly blank everything and then the call screen would reappear. This has happened to me several times.

The screen locking is poor - I cant count the numerous number of times I have taken my HTC out of my pocket to find my penis or keys had randomly dialled someone, or started to write an email. And yes, I am sure the phone was locked (prime example of this happened to me earlier today - I ended a call, locked the phone, put the phone in my pocket - 5 minutes later, I take the phone out to make another call and the phone is unlocked and halfway through a gibberish email).

The HTCs touch sensitivity seems to wildly vary depending on what you are doing, and buttons can be hard to actually get a press confirmed on - plus the onscreen keypad isn't anywhere near as good as the iOS one.

Thats just some of the issues I, as a "geek", have with my Android phone - I desperately want to go back to an iPhone...

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020544)

I have to dig around in subscreens to get to the apps I want - on the iPhone I just scroll left or right on the home screen, but on Android I only have six homescreen slots for apps, the other home screens are taken up with applets, mail and other shite, so I have to open the apps screen specifically, and then dig around in there.

I've got a HTC Desire Z and it's got HTC Sense which does what you want, sliding between different home screens left and right and even have different 'sets' of home screens as part of an overall phone theme.

The back button on the HTC is unbelievably broken - it entirely depends on what you were doing before as to what action it has. Does it return you to the home screen or to the previous page in the app? It depends! For example, I get a text message while my phone is locked - I unlock the phone and the message is displayed. I now want to refer to another message I have received previously, and since I am in the SMS app (as that is what is loaded), I click the back button to get to the message list. And I get dumped to the phones home screen instead. If I open the SMS app myself, the back button works as expected! Lots of examples such as that.

Ugh, I hate this as well, it always stings me on the web browser as it goes back a page instead of exiting which is what I'm use to with other applications. I understand why it does it but for a context sensitive button the context isn't always in tune with muscle memory.

The Android Market Place is a terribly poor user experience, I utterly hate using it - its hard to find apps, its hard to search, its hard to preview apps. The AppStore just seems so much better put together, especially when browsing from the device itself!

I just wish it had more categories, I haven't used Apple's App Store so what do they do better?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020714)

The back button was a great idea that had horrible consequences, in part because of some underlying Android fundamentals, and in part because the implementation of the back button's behavior is developer-determined.

Apple's App store prominently features high-quality apps on the front page. If the app isn't on the front page, it's not much easier to find than on Android, except that there's a lot more cruft on Android. Generally, if I search for anything on Android, I'll get tons of wallpaper or other apps which have nothing to do with my search terms and are only cluttering up the results.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020668)

My experience exactly. To add to the pain try to breaking your phone and having it replaced only to find you cannot do a full restore and have it back to its previous state. A third party app is required to do most of the restore, but even then you have to setup your home screen etc again.

Android back is like Windows Alt+F4 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020780)

The back button on the HTC is unbelievably broken

Back on an Android-powered device always closes the frontmost window. It's not unlike Alt+F4 on a PC running Windows. Maybe you haven't picked up on it because web pages are treated as windows in the back stack.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020590)

I'm sure (no, I know) that there is a subset that wants the status symbol, whether its the iFoo for the metrosexual, or the Nexus Foo for the geek crowd - it's the same thing. Most of us just want a device that will do what we need to function, and do it with a minimum of fussing. Apple provides mediocre products that fill 95% of the average users needs and require near zero setup and maintenance - QED.

In the horrible parlance of automotive analogies, I don't need a vehicle that can do 0-60 in under 6 seconds, nor do 0.95g on a skid pad. Those things are nice, and there will be times I wish I had them, but most of the time I just want to get my kid to school safely, or carry groceries back from the store. And unless I'm refilling the wiper fluid, I never want to open the hood.

Windshield washer fluid (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020828)

And unless I'm refilling the wiper fluid, I never want to open the hood.

To continue the analogy, some companies' products don't even let you do that. You have to use the company's own brand of fluid, or the reservoir won't refill.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020718)

You have never owned an iPone. You are simply spouting BS you have read on Internet forums. Stopping referring to yourself as a geek. You have neither the technical nor analytical ability to claim that title.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020344)

To continue my line of thinking [slashdot.org] - I wouldn't at all be surprised if at some point it came out that Apple is actively involved in providing ability to quickly jail break the iPhones and other devices that Apple sells on their own to the community through proxy.

Would you be surprised to find out that they did that? To me it seems that the only logical explanation as to why Apple is even locking the phones at all would be 2 fold:
1. Some government regulation.
2. Some private contract with a phone company, like AT&T to prevent Internet enabled phones from cutting into long distance call profits.

So in that case, if Apple wanted to increase its market share while still technically be bound by the above reasons to not allow the phones to be completely open, it would make sense for them to provide ability to jail break those phones by proxy and not openly on their own.

What we know about open and free software likely applies to all other aspects of economy. The more open a platform is, the more users it will have given all other things being equal. I am sure Apple does want a piece of that after market as well.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020478)

If there was a secret jail break button combo or something (up, up, down, down, left, ...) that unlocked your phone, I'd say you might be on to something - but the methods used are usually security exploits that can also be used by remote attackers to compromise your phone - I really don't think Apple are doing it on purpose. Security is just hard.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020518)

No, I don't believe that in order to have plausible deniability you would build in an easy to access way to remove security. You would provide a way to do whatever via a method that is complex enough that it cannot be done by a normal user but still it would be technically simple to do for somebody with specific knowledge.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020742)

Why do people keep referring to these long distance profit paranoia when Skypemand countless other VOIP programs have been in the Appmstore for years and Apple went outofmtheir way to make them work better in iOS 4.

Really would not kill you morons to do a 5 second google search. Of course, that would shatter your paranoid fantasy world.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020460)

Having two thirds of the entire mobile phone industry's profits despite selling just 2 phones would seem to suggest Apple knows what's in its best interests.

Of course that doesnt stop the waves of people willing to offer them free advice on how they should be doing this properly.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020498)

Having great profits with the closed platform doesn't mean that profits would be any less with a platform that was open.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020520)

Really? Android pretty much proves that it does. Android devices have nearly twice the market share of iOS yet make less than 1/3 of all profits worldwide in smartphone sales.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020528)

But I am not talking about Android, I am talking about iPhone, which has its following. For some reason most people replying here think that Apple wouldn't make the profits they make today if their platforms were more open.

I believe they are mistaken, there is no reason why Apple would make less money if they provided a more open platform. What if you had to pay extra 50 bucks to Applet to jail break the phone to get the 'privilege' to buy gadgets built by Apple for the aftermarket?

How would that reduce Apple's profits rather than increasing them?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020582)

Isn't Android open?

Manufacturers selling Android phones don't collectively have two thirds of the profits.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020608)

So by your logic just because Android sells worse than iPhone it means that if iPhone was more open it would sell less?

Is this /. or some other place, where comments are generally not expected to follow normal rules of logic?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020614)

I must admit have ~67% of market profits is rather impressive considering they only have ~16% of the market (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone).
It means they make about 168x more profit per phone compared to the others.
Wow!

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020748)

It does offer a glimpse into the reality behind Android market share. 2 of the 4 largest manufacturers, at least for US users, lost money last quarter.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020476)

And yet it seems to be working very well for them. They are still selling iPhones as fast as they can make them and they don't have a new report every other day (literally) about how apps in their app store are spying/stealing/etc. (see Android market). I'd say they have taken a different, but overall a fairly smart approach and you might be the one who is short sighted. How is the phone YOU invented selling?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020536)

Whatever I build as part of my work is very well received. I don't build phones, if that's what you are asking, but that's not what you are asking.

iPhones maybe the best thing since sliced bread, but how would that change at all if Apple sold a way to jail-break their devices for some extra cash and then sold more after-market gadgets and apps for the phone?

The only problem for Apple in that space is likely government regulations and private contracts with phone companies.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020580)

iPhones maybe the best thing since sliced bread, but how would that change at all if Apple sold a way to jail-break their devices for some extra cash and then sold more after-market gadgets and apps for the phone?

It would change because now everybody would be able to create and add features to the iPhone with Apple only receiving some money for the cable instead of receiving a shitload more when everybody is required to buy the next iPhone with those exact same new features. Apple would lose their ability to sell software-only upgrades.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020618)

So would that decrease the overall market for iPhones then or would it increase it and would not Apple be able to sell more iPhones if more features were available, more people catered to that market, software or not? Would Apple also not gain ability to sell more devices to connect to their phone?

Is it your contention that iPhones would generate less profit for Apple in that case?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020686)

Whether or not it's a smart business decission I doubt, but Apple seems to believe that any freedom given to the rest of the world means less profit for them.
You, opening up the platform might enable Apple to sell more devices. OTOH, third parties would be able to sell more devices as well and, more importantly, Apple would be unable to sell the iPhone 17 which has the new "connect this specific device" feature that customers want. Apple want to keep everything closed so they can sell a slightly less closed version to you in the future. They're artificially creating feature in the future by blocking functionality now. Apple isn't alone in this type of business model.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020620)

What I find more rediculous is how many geeks on slashdot who hate DRM censorship and bashed Windows Vista because of this go out and buy all the latest Iphones.

I am not saying this to be a troll here as I get modded down often due to my name, but I do scratch my head on this from people who only use Linux and use swear by GNU love their flashy IPhones.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020640)

I don't know why you are replying to me [slashdot.org] with that [slashdot.org] though. I never used Vista, I don't even know how. Once I had to help somebody with it, I couldn't even figure out how to view files, it was ultimately confusing, I gave about 10 seconds into the experience.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020692)

What's truly amazing is that you would make such a wild proclomatiom without any basis in reality...

Skype? Really? This is our example? Skype and other VoIP programs have run on iOS for years. In 4.0 Apple added special hooks to the OS just for VoIP calls to run I'm the background so you can use those free calls while doing other stuff. Clearly preventing Skype is what this is all about.

Did you even bother to try and have an informed opinion?

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020720)

This thread is getting too long if it takes me posting the same thin [slashdot.org] over and over to get the point across.

Obviously iPhones are locked due to government regulations and/or private contracts with phone companies.

Apple could make more money by selling a way to open the phones and by selling more devices/apps into the aftermarket.

Re:Having to jail break your own freaking phone (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020932)

Apple could make more money by selling a way to open the phones and by selling more devices/apps into the aftermarket.

I would guess legal liability would be a reason. By giving users an option to unlock the security, it can be taken that they are condoning any actions that may arise. If something goes wrong, some users even if they have to click a bunch of "Yes" screens would sue regardless. Also remember you are not the only person that can guess access to your phone. If say an ex girlfriend, wife, etc unlocks it and plants spyware to stalk you or plants child porn, etc, no Apple isn't responsible but since they provide a means to do it, they can be sued by you. Some companies allow users these options, Apple doesn't.

Debugging circuitry... (4, Informative)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020182)

...exists in pretty much all phones (amongst other devices) although most would require some soldering on the PCBs, they are also used for forensic investigations -- or have completely separate circuits used just for forensics.
I don't remember much to be honest (like protocols etc) but I remember it from a forensics class I took.

The only surprising thing here is that they allow access to that circuitry via the normal device ports.

Re:Debugging circuitry... (2)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020360)

The only surprising thing here is that they allow access to that circuitry via the normal device ports.

This is not debugging circuitry. This is a normal serial interface that has been known about for a good long time and is even talked about in Apple's documentation. You do need to have a breakout cable to access the serial lines but once you have that it works just like any other serial port does under Darwin.

Re:Debugging circuitry... (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020638)

The only surprising thing here is that they allow access to that circuitry via the normal device ports.

This is not debugging circuitry.

A lot of devices have TTL level serial ports hidden somewhere, so I would presume they are there for debugging purposes. Most computers haven't had serial ports in years, but new devices keep popping up with these TTL ports, so I guess the idea is to reserve it for professional uses. One nice thing about this discrepancy is, when all of your serial ports are TTL level, you don't need level converters.

Re:Debugging circuitry... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020808)

Most serial ports these days will accept a 5V signal, so if it's actually TTL then it works. A crapload of small devices have ~3.3 volt serial ports on them for debugging (e.g. Dockstar) and you need to shift the levels before even a particularly tolerant serial port will work.

Re:Debugging circuitry... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020636)

not on all phones. it's common to leave easy jtag out of devices sold to consumers and even to go to extra lengths to remove such access(or to build some security controls on it). for control, trusted computing and all that shit. because, you know, what good is a carrier lock you can get removed at china town? forensics guys don't do more than they do at ct.

leaving the connectors connected - or even just exposed - is just asking for hacking. Nintendo learned that stuff the hard way with wii..

Re:Debugging circuitry... (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020746)

My atrix allows debugging over the usb port. To enable it just check a box in the settings. Find some script written by a teenager in his mom's basement, and you have an unlocked phone.

Old news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020218)

What is it with /. these days?

Stefan Esser showed how to make an iDev serial cable in April at SyScan'11, and making the cable is trivial.

How does this improve iOS exploits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020240)

Does it create tighter, faster code or increase the success of exploits?

Pathetic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020294)

Really, all those terrible efforts an Apple drone should do to get some very basic freedom on the devices he payed so much for.. how pathetic.

Schematics (2)

psergiu (67614) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020352)

We want the schematics for the "hacker cable".
The schematic from the link in the TFA, ( http://www.ionetworks.com.au/files/serial_port.pdf [ionetworks.com.au] ) using pins 12 & 13 of the dock connector is for a "accessory connection" cable and can be used from a jailbroken iPhone with /dev/tty.iap but the bootloader won't send anything on those pins at startup.

modulo? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020562)

Perhaps I don't understand the context, but it appears to me TFA uses the word "modulo" where it means "minus".

Re:modulo? (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020628)

To quote wikipedia:

In the mathematical community, the word modulo is often used informally. Generally, to say "A is the same as B modulo C" means, more-or-less, "A and B are the same except for differences accounted for or explained by C".

With that in mind, the summary is saying this article and and the previous one cover the same topic except for differences accounted for by "kernel debugging abilities".

In this case that does mean pretty much the same thing as the word minus would have, and the word minus would probably be have a better choice.

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