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Apple's War Against Jailbreaking Now Makes Perfect Sense

timothy posted about a year ago | from the sacrifice-the-phone-to-save-your-world dept.

Cellphones 321

An anonymous reader writes "Apple has always been extremely anti jailbreaking, but it might now have a good reason to plug up the exploits. As Hardware 2.0 argues, Apple's new iOS 7 Activation Lock anti-theft mechanism which renders stolen handsets useless (even after wiping) unless the owner's Apple ID is entered relies on having a secure, locked-down OS. Are the days of jailbreaking iOS coming to a close?" I can see a whole new variety of phone-based ransom-ware based on this capability, too.

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Phone-based ransom-ware? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43971825)

timothy, you're going to have to explain how the implimentation of this feature by Apple in any way changes a developer's ability to create ransomware with similar functionality. 'Cause the way I see it, to be able to hijack the Authentication Lock, you're probably going to have to have sufficiently low-level access to just impliment your own lock.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43972015)

The phone's CPU could have a special PIN number that comes on a scratch card in the box when you buy it.

If your phone gets stolen you call your operator and read them the PIN. They send out a "kill" signal and the phone commits suicide.

This is impossible for hackers to fake - they can never know the PIN.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972139)

This all reeks of the Pentium III serial number and UEFI secure boot fiascos, both of which I recall caused lots of complaints here. I guess when Apple does it, it's ok because the Kool-Aid is so good.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972365)

SecureBoot is so the NSA can have hardware-level acess to computers.

Why else do you think we won't let you sign your own certs?

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (4, Insightful)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#43972215)

The phone's CPU could have a special PIN number that comes on a scratch card in the box when you buy it.

If your phone gets stolen you call your operator and read them the PIN. They send out a "kill" signal and the phone commits suicide.

This is impossible for hackers to fake - they can never know the PIN.

Yeah, they can only send millions of kill messages with random PINs out. No harm done.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43972509)

a) Who's "they"?

b) If the pin is 10 digits then "they" are wasting their time.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972241)

This PIN number thingamajiggy you speak of, is it to enter into the LCD display of an ATM machine? Good thing those are engineered using CAD design, but even better they're not programmed using BASIC code and don't run on a DOS operating system anymore, and now have gobs of RAM memory!

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972269)

I see what you did there.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43972339)

Hah, you got me there. I only did it once though...got it right the second time. :-)

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (-1, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | about a year ago | (#43972047)

Yes, phone-based ransomware. It's called iOS.

The real war isn't because of this, it's because Apple wants to have total control (more to the point, their fingers in the wallet) over anyone developing for the iOS devices. They want their 30% cut, period.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972343)

It's their OS and their device, aren't hey entitled to it?

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (2)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a year ago | (#43972503)

Doesn't mean that we have to like it.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (1, Troll)

acariquara (753971) | about a year ago | (#43972561)

70% of *something* is better than 100% of *nothing*. They created the roads, they are entitled to their tool booths. Quit bitching.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (5, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#43972647)

Whose device again? Money changed hands.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972473)

Because neither Google or Microsoft take a cut of revenues for people who sell through their stores, right? Oh wait... If having to pay a cut to Apple was ever so terrible no one would develop iOS apps.

Re:Phone-based ransom-ware? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972079)

In our business we have had several thousand 4's stolen over the last 2 years. We have 0 recourse to recover them. Apple admits they see them popping up all over the world under other names but can't recall or stop them from being used.

Bricking them or recovering them was a request of many businesses and officers of the law. Dry up the demand and you will slow down the theft.

No it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971837)

The only way to be safe(ish) (except a replacement of the CPU) is a software lock in the CPU. (Or any other part that is a pita to fix.)
This is imo a bad excuse for fighting jailbreaks.

Re:No it doesn't. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43971943)

How about an old fashioned fuse inside the chip? Blow the fuse, job done...

The problem is... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43971851)

The problem is, as with most anti-theft technology like this, it won't hurt the thieves as much as it will screw-over buyers of used hardware.

This will not cut down on theft as much as it will simply cripple the trust of the secondary market. After all, you can still steal an iPhone, stick it on Craigslist for cash, sell it to some poor sucker and get leave before he charges up the phone and figures out it was stolen and won't work.

Re:The problem is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971939)

Really? You'd buy a "gray-market" iPhone without seeing that it's on, and operational? Are you that retarded, really? I can only assume that you're retarded, since I can't imagine even the most dim-witted average person forking over good money for an iPhone without verifying that the thing is functional.

What this does is it makes it *mostly pointless* for someone to steal an iPhone, unless (until) someone finds a way to circumvent this activation lock. If it's useless, that scam works a limited number of times, and you're going to have some 'splainin to do to your customers. And you're going to have some angry customers who know who you are and can provide a description to police... "Hey I bought this iPhone advertised on Craigslist, and I have reason to believe it's stolen. I got it from this guy, here's his name and description."

Re:The problem is... (3, Interesting)

djrosen (265939) | about a year ago | (#43972009)

Yeah because no thief has ever put it into another iPhone box and shrink wrapped it and sold it as new before...

Re:The problem is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972145)

Go to an Apple store, they take it out of the box right there and activate it. Go to an AT&T store, they take it out of the box right there and activate it.

There's no reason to not say "open the shrinkwrap, plug it in, and let's verify that it's ready for activation, and not a brick."

If the person you're buying from suddenly gets all nervous and says "I gotta go man, just gimme the money and take the phone, I ain't got time for that," then there's a pretty fucking good warning that you're getting scammed.

Seriously, you people are fucking dense if you think this will do anything but reduce the number of stolen iPhones.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972249)

people are fucking dense

And this is why it won't matter that much. People are stupid. Thieves may have to get a bit more creative with their sales, but it won't matter. Phones will still get stolen, as they are now.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43972197)

Yeah because no thief has ever put it into another iPhone box and shrink wrapped it and sold it as new before...

If you're buying "new" iPhones from unknown people in gas stations then you deserve what you get IMHO.

Re:The problem is... (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#43972279)

Yeah because no thief has ever put it into another iPhone box and shrink wrapped it and sold it as new before...

Why would they bother putting an old iPhone in it, when they can just sell a lump of clay?

Re:The problem is... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43971961)

I imagine people will get wise to that one real fast...

Re:The problem is... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#43971999)

I imagine people will get wise to that one real fast...

Are you sure? One born every minute...

Re:The problem is... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43972313)

Then consider it a learning experience. Better a toy than something like a car or house.

Re:The problem is... (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43972095)

I think that was the point. People will see a pattern of phones sold second-hand not working, and will cease to buy second-hand phones. Legitimate sellers are screwed.

Re:The problem is... (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43972695)

Right, its not like they could ... you know ... figure out to turn the fucking thing on and try it first ... thats not something that anyone would ever think of.

Why are people on slashdot ... who think they are so smart and clever ... so utterly stupid to the fact that people have been ...

turning on and trying their used iPhones before buying them for years ALREADY?

Does your dumb ass buy a used car without trying it too?

Re:The problem is... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972615)

...it will simply cripple the trust of the secondary market...

I think it will just change the protocol for selling on eBay or Craigslist. Sellers will probably learn to post a picture of the phone, turned on, showing the date... and also the serial number or something. If you can get into the settings, then it wouldn't be locked. But really, sending a bricked phone is no different from sending a broken phone or no phone at all, so I think this all falls into the "fraud" dept.

FWIW, there were five things which immediately went through my head when I saw them announce Activation Lock. In order, they are:.
  - "If iOS7 can be jailbroken, Activation Lock is useless"
  - "There needs to be a simpler way to 'release' a phone from your ownership". (I once went into "Find My iPhone" and was able to see all three iPads I've ever owned and the last three iPhones I've had. It turns out that it takes some deliberate navigating, on the part of the user, to indicate that they no longer own a device. That needs to be simpler.
  - It needs to be *verifiable* by the buyer that a device isn't "owned" by anybody. Otherwise, the device could be locked at any time in the future. (or... there needs to be a way for someone with a locked phone to track down the person with locking rights on a phone so that they can say "Hey... remember that phone you sold back to BestBuy last Spring? They never released you as the owner". Almost like doing a title-search on a piece of property.
  - Apple will probably need some kind of arbitration dept. for the "This dude sold me his phone and won't release his lock rights" or "I can't find the person who has lock rights" issues.
  - If this is something which people have to turn on in the phone before it gets stolen, it's going to be useless. Almost nobody is going to take the time to enable it, which means a small fraction of stolen phones will get activation-locked, which means there will be a small deterrent to theft.

I eagerly await the rollout of iOS7 to see how Apple deals with these issues.

Already Unlocked (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year ago | (#43971861)

So what, the NSA has the inside track for all jailbreaking.

Re:Already Unlocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971967)

So what, the NSA has the inside track for all jailbreaking.

No, they just see the unencrypted data you pass over your connection to the internet, your cookies, all the information Apple has on you, e.g. your mail accounts, and many of your website profiles. That's true no matter what mobile device you've got and whether or not you've jailbroken your phone. Everything that passes through your carrier, they have.

Re:Already Unlocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972143)

Here I would say, "wanna bet?", they can probably read it in real time, the latest updates have probably let them. If I remember the article from Saudia, by sandia, it was there is only one, I'll say again, only one unreadable system.. And they sold out to keep their system on the market. That's why all the high monkies, had blackberries prior to 2008. Since then, if they were the last unreadable system, guess what?
With that said, the best security is now to hide in the crowd. Make sure you are open, text readable, misspell, do all the things that a 18 going on 90 year old would do. With their scattergun approach, one read out of a million, is better then them looking at severely at your system.

Re:Already Unlocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972061)

It is the best of both worlds - Chinese manufactured phone with NSA approved software.

"War against jailbreaking?" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971869)

How about "war against security exploits that allow malicious users to gain unrestricted access to your phone?"

I guess Linux and Microsoft are both engaged in a 'war against jailbreaking' too, when they close fucking security exploits.

Jesus christ - if you want root on your device, get a device that is built to allow that. Don't bitch that a company closes fucking security holes in its software.

Boycott Apple (1, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972067)

Jesus christ - if you want root on your device, get a device that is built to allow that. Don't bitch that a company closes fucking security holes in its software.

I agree it is time to boycott apple for their anti-consumer practices than excusing their behaviour.

Re:Boycott Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972203)

Anyone who understands enough to do this already does it. I only buy android phones with unlockable bootloaders as do many of my friends, but we're all nerds. Most people don't care, they just want the new shiny thing.

Re:Boycott Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972243)

I agree - if you want root access to your device, and that functionality is important to you, then you should buy one of the devices on the market that allows unfettered root access to the device owner.

I would take issue with the description of the practice as "anti-consumer," since the bulk of consumers don't give a toss about root access on the device - they are happy to allow someone else to manage that complexity for them. But certainly, if you need that root access - you should vote with your wallet.

There are literally several devices on the market today that will allow you the root access you want!

Pro-competition (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972519)

I would take issue with the description of the practice as "anti-consumer," since the bulk of consumers don't give a toss

That is why consumer groups, and governments woldwide are questioning Apples anti-comumer practices(in china for godsakes). Ignoring Apple I am getting increasingly aware of a battle of ecosystems(Microsoft's Term as they don't have a successful mobile strategy they have metro). I see some great looking phone OS's coming out from Ubuntu and Jolla, and the barriers for switching are getting higher.

We have seen this before and even though Microsoft & Intel walk away with 70% Gross Margin, And Apple taking its Obscene Mark-up (I think they get kidneys). Its bad for consumers, bad for competition.

No app monopoly means no jail means no breaking (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43972225)

I guess Linux and Microsoft are both engaged in a 'war against jailbreaking' too, when they close fucking security exploits.

Closing security exploits isn't a "war against jailbreaking" if there's no "jail", that is, if the operating system's publisher doesn't monopolize distribution of applications. Each GNU/Linux distribution has a central repository of applications, but PC owners are free to add more repositories or to install the compiler at no additional charge. Users are likewise free to add desktop applications whencever obtained for Windows on x86 and x86-64.

Jesus christ - if you want root on your device, get a device that is built to allow that.

What make and model of pocket-size tablet would you recommend for that? Most Android devices smaller than 7" are priced to be subsidized by a 2-year full-price cellular voice and data service commitment.

Re:No app monopoly means no jail means no breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972345)

Get any Android device out of contract, then. It may be hard in your country, but certainly it's not impossible.

iPod touch is the competition here (0)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43972501)

The problem is that if getting an Android phone out of contract is harder or more expensive or both than getting an iPod touch, Apple has won a new convert.

Blackberry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971895)

Wow, they really are cloning the Blackberry Z10. Didn't know about this feature that is being "borrowed". Atelast it doesn't involve rounded edges or something so Blackberry can't sue over it.

for your protection (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971925)

It has nothing to do with the 30% off the top that Apple takes, it's for your protection!

IMEI (5, Insightful)

ssam (2723487) | about a year ago | (#43971927)

Whats wrong with IMEI blacklisting.

Re:IMEI (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43971979)

Whats wrong with IMEI blacklisting.

Only works across whatever region(s) share blacklists.

Re:IMEI (5, Insightful)

Bodero (136806) | about a year ago | (#43971981)

Whats wrong with IMEI blacklisting.

Carrier unlocking, and the fact that a locked out iPhone still makes a great iPod Touch.

Re:IMEI (4, Insightful)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#43972059)

Whats wrong with IMEI blacklisting.

Ask the people who just last month complained that it wasn't enough. Like the NYT [nytimes.com] , who of course singled out Apple.

Re:IMEI (1)

Afty0r (263037) | about a year ago | (#43972083)

Probably the fact that the IMEI number can be changed?

Re:IMEI (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972133)

1) Only enforced by a few countries in this world

2) Can be easily bypassed even in those countries

3) Even in the countries that enforce it, not all phones that are stolen are in fact blocked at all.. They'll lose money if they do...

I speak from personal experience working in a telecoms company that rhymes with JIM that sold their phones through 2 phone providers in UK that rhyme with Citrus sinensis and Carbon Dioxide respectively, and after checking the devices that customers report as stolen directly to them providers - by personal DB access and even phoning their customer service pretending to buy these phones from eBay and wanting to check their IMEI's - even after a year, can see first hand that they are not only still unblocked but in use by customers within UK with the same mentioned providers and unmodified IMEI numbers.

time to implement (4, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43971933)

The summary implies they've had this in the works for multiple iterations of iOS and never did it. I find it highly doubtful they were ready to implement this, but didn't for what, 5 consecutive versions of iOS?

Re:time to implement (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#43972175)

The summary implies they've had this in the works for multiple iterations of iOS and never did it. I find it highly doubtful they were ready to implement this, but didn't for what, 5 consecutive versions of iOS?

Your post implies that all the other security mechanisms in iOS, that get disabled by jailbreaking, don't exist.

Re:time to implement (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43972183)

I imagine than Mayor Bloomberg's recent meeting with major phone manufacturers may have been a factor.

Listen up you shit birds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971935)

Q1: Would you prefer that (a) the U.S. government occasionally use the results of fully legal wiretaps to catch terrorists before they blow up another marathon, or (b) Michelle Bachmann and her crazy racist TeaBagger uberallies destroy women's Constitutional reproductive rights?

See wingnuts?!? America stands with the President!

Nobody wants to jailbreak (3, Insightful)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43971945)

But we do want, insist actually, on root access for devices we own. If you can't log in as root, you don't own the device. Just give me the option to turn on root access using my Apple ID. Closing holes that allow for unauthorized privilege elevation is a good thing. Disallowing authorized use of the full functionality of a device is a bad thing.

Re:Nobody wants to jailbreak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972189)

Then don't buy the device.

When you buy an Apple you don't buy a little computer. You buy a magic white box. You don't want a magic white box. Don't buy an Apple phone.

Re:Nobody wants to jailbreak (0)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43972301)

I was just remarking to my wife that upon looking at iOS 7, the "features" Apple seems to have added are the ones an Android user can implement without having to root, jailbreak, or otherwise breach the basic device's intended configuration. In fact, these kinds of features are why we each eventually jailbroke our iPhone 3G before finally switching to Android. The only Android device I rooted was my tablet, and that was to perform a swap of internal pseudo-SD and the real SD due to the limited space as designed. Not the most stable configuration, by the way, but I knew that going into it.

Jailbreaking = Supporting 'Bad Guys'(tm) (5, Funny)

killfixx (148785) | about a year ago | (#43971947)

Wow...

Would you steal a stereo? Would you steal a purse? Well, if you jailbreak your iPhone, you may as well!

Jailbreaking your iPhone prohibits Apple from protecting the safety of your loved ones. Think of the children.

TERRORISTS!!

Shenanigans!!

Anything to convince law-makers that having control over your own devices is evil.

Bah!

Re:Jailbreaking = Supporting 'Bad Guys'(tm) (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43972327)

I'd totally copy a photo of a purse, or copy a photo of a stereo. But I can think of a lot of other photos I'd rather copy.

"secure"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971949)

Does that mean: PRISM-certified?

Secutiry could have been separate module (2)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#43971957)

When you control the hardware the way Apple does, there is no problem in separating the lock-feature from the main operating system, similar to what happens with a Trusted Platform Module in a Laptop. In fact, one may argue that relying on the operating system to handle this as part of its regular codebase is hopeless, as it means any jailbroken device can also be "unlocked" again.

If they actually wanted to make this secure they would have separated it from the main OS.

Having said that, one can hardly argue against a company working to close known vulnerabilities and security issues within their software, so Apple really should be working hard to close these exploits regardless of the lock-feature.

- Jesper

Re:Secutiry could have been separate module (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43972367)

Apple does indeed work to close known vulnerabilities in their software...as long as the hardware it goes on is still marketable. My contract was far from over by the time support for my iPhone 3G ended, including security patching. All resources went into the later iOS versions I could not run. So I can't give Apple credit for working to close vulnerabilities when they knowingly abandoned users to exploitable versions of their software.

It's always made sense (5, Informative)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43971975)

They want to prevent anyone else from starting an app store in competition with theirs.

Re:It's always made sense (3, Interesting)

chispito (1870390) | about a year ago | (#43972107)

They want to prevent anyone else from starting an app store in competition with theirs.

Except that makes it more difficult to explain in condescending terms of how Apple knows what is best for its customers.

Re:It's always made sense (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43972255)

They want to prevent anyone else from starting an app store in competition with theirs.

Except that makes it more difficult to explain in condescending terms of how Apple knows what is best for its customers.

if they wanted to protect their customers they could offer a signing and certification service(that was the old way in the mobile world).
the new apple way is just "fuck you we take the cash cut". as sad it is, it was hailed as good thing in the mobile world because the old market routes took even a bigger cut!

iPhone Tracks Everywhere You've been (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43971995)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/20/iphone-tracking-prompts-privacy-fears

Lest we forget:
"Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised."

"The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program."

"For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010."

And now we find out that Apple signed up to PRISM, the system that the FISC court already said was illegal under the constitution:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/government-says-secret-court-opinion-law-underlying-prism-program-needs-stay

They simply kept the ruling secret and did it anyway.

Re:iPhone Tracks Everywhere You've been (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972075)

Google now not only keeps a track of every where you go, it also knows where are you are at the very moment

You're gonna have to try much harder

Re:iPhone Tracks Everywhere You've been (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972157)

Google signed up to Prism long before apple

troll harder

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/new-leak-feds-can-access-anything-in-your-google-facebook-and-more/ [arstechnica.com]

Re:iPhone Tracks Everywhere You've been (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972625)

It's not at Google's or Apple's headquarters, they're at the low-tier stations before it even gets to them.

NO U TROLL HARDER

Re:iPhone Tracks Everywhere You've been (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#43972305)


Lest we forget:
"Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised."

And would this information have been discovered if we couldn't root the phone and pry amongst its (virtual) innards?
(that was a serious question, I don't know).

If this were really about theft... (4, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#43972019)

There is a simple solution to theft - initialize each device with a unique key, and give a copy of that key to the owner. By all means pre-load it with trust for the vendor key as well so that it can auto-update by default, but the master key goes to the user. The key might be a $2 USB drive in a little envelope that says "keep safe and don't open unless you want to modify the OS software - Vendor may not be able to repair devices without this key."

The average user just sticks the key in a drawer and gets the default experience. A user who wants to unlock the device just downloads their alternate firmware installer of choice and it will ask them to insert their key so that it can reflash the phone. Users could also disable the Vendor's keys if they wish. By all means let users generate their own keys and install those on the device as well (obviously this will require the previous key). In the case of business-owned phones the business would procure the phone and keep the key, and thus they can stay in control of the hardware even if they allow employees to use it.

Now users can reflash at will, but if somebody steals the phone they will be unable to do so. It would have minimal cost, and since the defaults are all idiot-proof those who don't care about the feature can ignore it and as long as they don't remove the Vendor key the vendor can still do anything they can do today. However, it would establish that the person who paid for the phone is the one who owns it. Since the key is a tangible object, it can be transferred if the owner wishes to do so, and I'd just make it a read-only simple USB drive so that it could be copied if desired as well - just like a car key.

Re:If this were really about theft... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#43972085)

Hate to self-reply, but you could market this as a feature for the average user too. Call it a "digital key." If the user ever forgets their password or otherwise messes up their device they can always use their key to unlock it, using the Vendor's software. The average single car-buyer is probably already used to getting a second set of keys and giving it to somebody to help them out in a jam, or keeping them someplace safe just in case. It should be a familiar metaphor.

Re:If this were really about theft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972223)

The owner of the iphones has the only key. You are just mistakenly belive that YOU are the owner of the iphone in your pocket...

Re:If this were really about theft... (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#43972687)

Or you could make it easy and allow a user the ability to report a device tied to their account as lost/stolen, then Apple can simply render the device useless by refusing logins, syncs, etc.

Apple Product Resale Value = $0. (0)

cs2501x (1979712) | about a year ago | (#43972031)

So, call me a pessimist but this 'feature' seems to just be a gateway into requiring Apple to approve the resale of any piece of hardware they sell. "Want to sell your iPhone? Sorry, can't do that without entering the originally registered email address / Apple ID that came with it. Oh, by the way-if you want to update that info its a nominal $25 fee. Oh, did I say $25? I meant $250. OR! You could trade it into us for a new, unsaleable product. :) If you trade it in, we'll take $275 off your next purchase of $600 or more. Aren't we nice? Look, you have options." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/apple-said-to-start-trade-in-program-to-boost-new-models.html [bloomberg.com] . And, speaking of security--isn't the adage that there is no security without physical security? How will the phone know it's correctly associated with the right ID? Will it not either a.) cache credentials from a remote login to Apple ID, or it will b.) require an internet connection? In either of these cases it seems it'll be possible to unlock the phone with the correct info--and then proceed to spoof whatever information is necessary to get access to the base system. With security exploits all bets are off on what the software is expected to do.

Re:Apple Product Resale Value = $0. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43972277)

it still has resale value.

as parts.

which is how thieves are selling hem.

Apple killing second hand market (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972289)

So, call me a pessimist but this 'feature' seems to just be a gateway into requiring Apple to approve the resale of any piece of hardware they sell.

Apple is killing the whole second market, and has been for sometime. It has even turned its computers into glorified disposable electronics.

I has more than willing to hail this as part end of Apple...it seemed bad business practice(making a great product is the good business practice), but recent news has seen Apple offering what is essentially part exchange on their(not your) products. It makes sense to me that Apples final goal is to get you to hire the hardware. I would argue Apple is already doing this in America with its phones to great success.

Its great anti-consumer lock-in.

Re:Apple Product Resale Value = $0. (1)

jmauro (32523) | about a year ago | (#43972307)

If you're selling your phone you'd disable the lock feature, disassociate the phone from your account and sell it. It only hurts those who are selling stolen iPhones, not those who are legitimately reselling the device.

Baseband security? (1)

DarkSkiez (11259) | about a year ago | (#43972041)

They already support blacklisting IMEI serials on phones, but the problem being that there is no global IMEI blacklist, so stolen phones get shipped around the world very quickly. This solution from apple allows them to seize this control from the network operators, which is a good and bad thing.

Currently most phone security exists in its baseband. The baseband could easily have a hardware security mode that requires the equivalent of unlocking by the manufacturer to make it work again. Unlocking modern phones is still pretty tricky and is much harder to defeat than the standard OS security, for example, you can root an android phone, but still not unlock the baseband very easily. This whole thing could be standardised across all manufacturers too, yet allow freedom of OS on the device.

A Lie to excuse Abuse (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972051)

I am a little tired of being spoon-fed lies(at least it wasn;t another Ars "open"[sic] article) on how I'm being raped as a consumer by mega-corporations. Everone knows why Apple Locks down devices...its so they can bleed every bit of cash from you with their cheap Chinese Foxconn devices. The EFF called it “corporate paternalism”

Here from when Apple filed a response to an Electronic Frontier Foundation request that the US Copyright Office exempt from the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Apple asserts that jailbreaking fails all four “nonexclusive statutory fair use factors prescribed in 107 of the copyright statute,” essentially calling jailbreaking a crime http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2008/responses/apple-inc-31.pdf [copyright.gov] .

Its easy boycott Apple. Its not like their is a shortage of better value, better hardware and software, running open standards products from more ethical companies.

Yeah ... (0)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43972099)

Apple was fighting jailbreaking since iOS 1.0 because they knew in iOS 7 they were going to roll out an anti-theft measure.

Re:Yeah ... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43972619)

Apple was fighting jailbreaking since iOS 1.0 because they knew in iOS 7 they were going to roll out an anti-theft measure.

well that's apple apologists for you.
it was always about control. control of what gets installed and who gets money from it.

the anti theft could just as well be another layer on the system. and should be.

it is a loaner (0)

beefoot (2250164) | about a year ago | (#43972101)

Of course Apple can do things like that because the iphone you're holding is a loaner. It will be yours once it is dead.

iphone anti theft makes no sense (-1, Troll)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#43972123)

a; Malicious theft reporting, like the ex boyfriend gets the ex girlfriend's phone locked.

b; iphones are just not that attractive anymore. Obviously samsung with the s4, note2, htc one, nokia lumias, sonys, hell, even the new blackberries look better than the iphones. A couple of years ago it probably would've made some sense, but not anymore.

c; End of jailbreaking? Seriously? A story from slashdot's own editor, at the place for open source software and hardware?

Re:iphone anti theft makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972379)

a; Malicious theft reporting, like the ex boyfriend gets the ex girlfriend's phone locked.

1. You need the Apple ID to enable the lockout. If the ex has that they can already remotely wipe the phone and change the login.
Your other two points are too retarded to merit a reply.

thanks fanboys (-1, Troll)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43972135)

you cant retroactively claim the 'locked down' strategy suddenly makes sense after seven fucking iterations of the software that didnt boast the software brickup solution for a wetware problem. Youre also entirely discarding the fact that everything from the new mac pro to the ipad actively resists attempts to load any other operating system than the one its packaged with...or did you fail to consider those devices jailed-by-default?

lets try this again. Apples war against jailbreaking is a wholly justified endeavor based on market research, financial analysis and business strategy that ensures consistently increased quarterly profits for its board and its shareholders. reducing the level of iPhone theft (outside the glass doors of the macstore) is not conducive to these goals and has been implemented largely due to consumer unrest and politically incensed district attorneys for various states. The goal is to develop a cheap product with a high markup and a rabid fanbase that will questionlessly purchase every regularly-scheduled iteration of the product regardless of perceived need. for the consumer to actually control what the device does and the parameters under which it operates means the death of planned obsolescence.

I'm so sure they'll give it back (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43972263)

I'm so sure that after someone steals an iPhone, they'll give it back to the owner once they realize that it can't be used because it's in lockdown mode. In reality, they'll destroy it and/or sell it for parts. It won't be a deterrent either. A thief can't tell the difference between the versions so if it has an Apple logo, it's getting stolen regardless.

No, it can never make "perfect sense" (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#43972303)

Jailbreaking is a personal choice..Apple, nor any other company should be allowed to tell me what I can do with my purchased hardware. If I want to take a chance by jailbreaking my phone it should be up to me.

Re:No, it can never make "perfect sense" (1)

joh (27088) | about a year ago | (#43972537)

Jailbreaking is a personal choice..Apple, nor any other company should be allowed to tell me what I can do with my purchased hardware. If I want to take a chance by jailbreaking my phone it should be up to me.

But how does your phone know it's you who's jailbreaking it?

Watertight security even when you have physical access to a device has two sides: It protects your data (and may allow you to brick the phone remotely) but it also locks you out. It's very hard to have one but not the other.

Re:No, it can never make "perfect sense" (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#43972679)

you assume that matters, it does not.. My PC does not know if it is me who is loading an OS or not but it still allows it do be done unless I lock it.

Piracy (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about a year ago | (#43972335)

The reason Apple cares so much about jailbreaking has always been about preventing piracy of apps.

Re:Piracy (2)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#43972579)

Reminds me of overhearing a salesperson trying to convince a customer to put down the iPhone she was holding and buy an Android phone (I suspect higher commission on the Android).

"And another advantage is you don't have to pay for any applications unlike the iPhone. It's really easy and everyone does it."

I wept for Android developers.

This article is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43972413)

The article asserts "Apple's new iOS 7 Activation Lock anti-theft mechanism which renders stolen handsets useless (even after wiping) unless the owner's Apple ID is entered relies on having a secure, locked-down OS".

That assertion is entirely false. Activation Lock does require a secure pre-activation OS, but after that, it makes no difference.

Control (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#43972505)

They want control of your hardware, and you are going to let them have it.

And then you'll live in Apple's comfortable little cage, and they'll give you everything you need.

Police State (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972595)

And then you'll live in Apple's comfortable little cage, and they'll give you everything you need.

Except its not like that. They block alternative stores, access to replacement for Apple first party tools, because they want to take your money. Its about starving you of alternatives, and making you dependant on them....Like a Feeder.

There Is, and Never Has Been, a War (2)

flanaganid (900938) | about a year ago | (#43972523)

Apple's view towards jailbreaking can likely be summed up thus: Anyone is free to do whatever they want with their devices. Just don't expect support for unsupported things if it breaks. Found a security exploit in the OS? Thanks, we'll fix that right up.

That is a Lie (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43972543)

Apple's view towards jailbreaking can likely be summed up thus: Anyone is free to do whatever they want with their devices. Just don't expect support for unsupported things if it breaks. Found a security exploit in the OS? Thanks, we'll fix that right up.

Apples view is your a criminal breaking DMCA http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2008/responses/apple-inc-31.pdf [copyright.gov]

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