Jailbreaking is a process that allows iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users to run third-party unsigned code on their devices by unlocking the operating system and allowing the user root access. Once jailbroken, iPhone users are able to download many extensions and themes previously unavailable through the App Store via unofficial installers such as Cydia. A jailbroken iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch is still able to use the App Store and iTunes.
Jailbreaking is against at&t’s/Apple’s policies. End of story until last week when the Librarian of Congress ruled it’s actually OK. The Library of Congress is the keeper of copyrights and this is an exemption they can issue… and did.
The jailbreak itself was incredibly easy. That’s a problem. All I did was visit a website and click one link. Too easy–seriously. It makes me very uneasy.
Someone found a security hole in the iPhone’s Safari web browser wide enough to drive a truck through. The jailbreak worked because an improperly formed pdf file was able to gain access to the ‘root’ of the iPhone’s operating system.
It was OK this time because I consciously downloaded the file. Unfortunately someone could fashion a drive-by attack using the same method (and here are some examples already tried!)! Go to a website, get infected invisibly!
This is a weakness caused by Apple’s programming. I’m astounded they haven’t immediately fixed the problem.
Obviously I have crossed purposes here. I want to jailbreak, but I don’t want others to have similar access without my permission.
I’m also upset with the writers of this jailbreak code. By openly exploiting this weakness they created a roadmap for those with less noble purpose.
A lot of the responsibility rests on Apple because their policies have limited the inherent capabilities of the iPhone. People just want to unlock what the phone can actually do. There is an incentive to delve into grey areas which Apple could easily fill.
There’s lots of blame to go around. There’s lots that’s troubling.