Apple iPad Vulnerable To Jailbreak Hack

A member of the iPhone Dev team -- the notorious iPhone OS hacking group -- demonstrated a jailbreaking hack to the long-awaited iPad after its release in Apple retail stores across the country Saturday.

A member of the group known as MuscleNerd announced the iPad jailbreak, called "Spirit," on Apple's newly released iPad via a Twitter update, while also mentioning that the hack should also work on the yet unreleased 3G iPad. The jailbreaking hack was officially credited to a hacker known as Comex who tweeted that the "Spirit" jailbreak wasn't based on a browser exploit. The jailbreak was also posted on YouTube.

Jailbreaking occurs when hackers circumvent a device's restrictions prohibiting installation of unlicensed or unapproved software.

For regular users, jailbreaking an iPad would allow them to install more features and functions not officially sanctioned by iTunes or the Apple Store. However, jailbreaking will also cost users their warranty and eliminate any kind of support from Apple, including OS updates and patches.

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The blogosphere has speculated that the Dev Team hackers were probably able to break into the iPad by exploiting some of the same flaws used to jailbreak iPhone OS 3.1, which will, in turn, spur Apple to address the flaw in a rather timely matter.

Last year a jailbreaking flaw in the iPad's nearest cousin, the iPhone, became highly publicized when Apple researcher Charlie Miller detected a security vulnerability occurring in the way the device receives and sends text messages via its Short Messaging Service, or SMS. Miller announced details of the iPhone flaw during several international conferences, including Black Hat.

Attackers who exploit the SMS flaw could track a victim's location via GPS, execute malicious code that launches a denial of service attack or botnet, and listen in on conversations as well as jailbreak the iPhone to steal apps and use the device on a service other than Apple's exclusive carrier AT&T.

Shortly thereafter, Apple updated the BootROM for the iPhone 3GS, a software upgrade that aimed to keep the device from being vulnerable to an exploit known as "24kpwn," which allowed hackers to jailbreak their iPhone.