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Hackers Release 'Spirit' Jailbreak For iPad, iPhone

Dev Team hackers released an untethered "Spirit" jailbreak, which enables users to unlock their iPhone 3GS, or iPad, to run software not officially sanctioned by the Apple or available at the App Store.

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Like other software releases, the new "Spirit" jailbreak can be applied to any iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch running firmware 3.1.2, 3.1.3 or 3.2, enabling users to break into their own devices and run programs not otherwise approved by Apple.

The jailbreak hack was first discovered by Dev Team member "Comex," who Tweeted that the "Spirit" jailbreak wasn't based on a browser exploit in April. The jailbreak was also posted on YouTube, showing that the hack provides a root shell with full access to the iPad file system.

The Dev Team is notorious for breaking into the iPhone OS, and subsequently making the exploits public.

Apple has its Apple's iTunes and App Store under lock and key, enabling users to only access "company approved" applications. Jailbreaking occurs when users unlock their mobile devices, allowing them to access and run hundreds more applications, while giving them greater control and freedom to install more features and functions onto their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

The latest jailbreak hack was first demonstrated on the iPad in early April, just three days after the release of the popular Apple tablet computer. Specifically, the latest jailbreaking program enables users to install an unauthorized digital equivalent to the Apple App Store called Cydia, which allows users to access unauthorized software such as "Backgrounder" -- a program that gives users the ability to run more than one application at once. Cydia software was initially used in iPhone jailbreaks, but can be updated to run on the larger iPad.

Unlike previous exploits, the "Spirit" jailbreak is one that is untethered, meaning that users are not required to plug their devices into their computer every time they reboot. Up until now, hackers attempting to jailbreak the iPhone 3GS and latest iPod Touch could only apply a "tethered" jailbreak, which prohibited them from performing a hardware reset without connecting it to their computers via a USB cable.

There are some drawbacks for those who choose to go the jailbreaking route. For one, the warranties are voided once an Apple device is jailbroken. And users also eliminate any chance of receiving updates, patches or technical support from Cupertino.

However, this latest jailbreak release represents a big leg up for hackers in the continual volley between Apple and the jailbreaking community. But Apple will likely find other ways to thwart the Dev Team hacker community in their quest to fight piracy. In addition to running unauthorized third-party apps, jailbreaking can be used by hackers to steal software from the Apple App Store.

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