back to article Apple pulls jailbreak detection API

Apple has dropped support for the API that allows applications to ask if an iOS device has been jailbroken, though it seems that not a lot of people trusted it anyway. The API was only introduced six months ago, but according to Infoworld has now disappeared or been disabled, leaving vendors of security products reliant on their …

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Big Brother

Not really

It just means the public released API doesn't work and they don't want to release their own secret API. Does anyone seriously think they don't know which device has been jailbroken? They simply choose to have their options open. They will brick those devices when they feel like.

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FAIL

"Brick [...] when they feel like"??

Even though it's ruled that jailbreaking is perfectly legal, but remotely disabling a device for no reason would likely be against the Computer Misuse Act, plus whatever the US equivalent is?

Jog on, Apple aren't really losing money through jailbreaking, there is no reason to kill the devices, even if they (legally) could.

Hate Apple if you like, but stick to the realms of reality.

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Gold badge

Jailbreak detection

The problem is that the jailbreak detection is written into the firmware for the iPod. After that firmware is released and installed, the jailbreaker jailbreaks their iPod. How do the firmware coders know what to look for to detect the jailbreak?

In the case where an ajilbroken iPod then gets a firmware update, then maybe the new firmware will have been written to know what to look for, but then what stops the jailbreaker from running a new piece of code that changes that?

As for new firmware turning a jailbroken iPod into a brick, I don't know about the US, but in the UK ISTR that there are specific laws that make it illegal to do that. Perhaps thay may be able to disable access to the iTunes store, but then that would only force the jailbreaker further from Apple's control!

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Alert

Not illegal if you make the right claim

It's possible to remotely disable phones that have been stolen. Apple could claim that they are providing a similar technique for stolen ipoads through their own bricking mechanism. Working from that, Apple could claim that it's legal to disable phones, or any similar devices, that are used for any illegal purposes. They'd have to defend it in court at some point but there's sufficiently shaky ground around what rights a user has to their iThing to allow for the possibility that Apple might just get away with it.

There's a good reason Apple won't like jailbreaking. A jailbroken device may give them a one-time profit when the owner buys it, but if they then go on to install a bunch of apps from a secondary source they're no longer providing revenue to apple through the app store. It's basic rent-seeking really. They want to make sure you keep forking over the cash after you've bought the device.

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Black Helicopters

To save time, the inevitable

Blah blah iPhan, blah blah Lemon 4, blah blah feeling threatened, blah blah Steve Jobs stole my bike..

There, the "JaitcH" nonsense is out of the way, so we can concentrate on proper tinfoul hattery :)

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Wow.

Nice to see that personal attacks haven't gone out of style. Heaven forbid someone on the internet dislikes a product from your chosen "lifestyle brand."

For the record, I'm with JaitcH on this one. Whilst a decent phone, I think that overall the iPhone 4 is largely inferior in quality and reliability to the iPhone 3GS. Feel free to pile on the charges of blasphemy and the personal attacks!

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Thumb Up

Out of interest where is Mr J?

This is a discussion about Apple for flip's sake, I feel quite lost!

I want to hear what JaitcH has to say!

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re: Wow.

It's got nothing to do with 'your chosen "lifestyle brand."' It's the fact that JaitcH tiresome rants are boilerplate trolls based on what he read/makes up having had no first hand experience with the devices in question. He's as much a fanboi as those that he and you are deriding.

If anyone chooses to attack you, it should be for the passive/aggressive "Feel free to pile on the charges of blasphemy and the personal attacks!", not because they agree or not. For the record, I think you are wrong, but that is my opinion based on first hand experience. YMMV.

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Troll

Corporate?

"more important in a corporate setting"

Except Apple's own policies specifically exclude the iPhone from Business use

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/24/iphone_apps_not_for_business/

Anyone else want to take a dig at the fanbois?

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FAIL

read your own link next time

That issue is related to TAXATION differences on the apps sold in the various worldwide iTunes app stores. It is simply a policy that those apps are sold for non-commercial use (unless the distributor of the app otherwise approves business use later, which could run you afoul of local tax laws in some cases).

Also, Apple has a process in place for businesses to deploy their own apps internally, separate from the iTunes app store.

Your link only clarifies that 3rd partry apps are not for corporate use, and has no impact on whether the iPhone itself is a device for corporations or not.

They specifically have business phone plans, sell devices in bulk to business accounts, have processes for businesses to support and deploy their own apps, link into DOD STIG corporate audit and other enterprise policies, support enterprise messaging systems, and more. The iPhone is not only a business phone, it's only competition is RIM (dying) and WP 6.5 (dead) since Android does not meet even basic business requirements (and can never meet business and government security requirements in its current form).

The same policy is also listed in the Google marketplace, Microsoft's app store, and other inline markets. This is not a phone issue, it's a VAT issue on the sale of apps for different purposes.

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Big Brother

Trusted by whom ?

"once the device is jailbroken, nothing the OS says can be trusted"

It seems Apple is more interested in whether those who can ensure applications are installed on the device can trust it rather more than whether or not users can. These 2 trust properties are not the same.

Take the issue of data protection for example. I might have various Android apps which can use the GPS to report where I am. If I deny GPS access to an app because of what I don't want it to do, it may not do anything at all including what I do want it to do. So I may prefer to have one app think I am in one place and another think I am elsewhere. In this situation I have very good reason to hack the system call or class library which accesses my location from the GPS device. The Data Protection Act and Computer Misuse Act are both very clear on my rights, but if the only way I can exercise these is if no location aware app on my phone works at all, then access to the potential benefits of GPS are denied.

So whose computer is it anyway ?

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Anonymous Coward

Not yours.

"So whose computer is it anyway ?"

"Computers" are becoming nothing more than thin clients connected to someone else's network. Yeah, you can customize the environment to some extent, but the rest belongs to "them" (insert Apple, Google, et al as appropriate). Just watch - it's going to get a lot worse, and the beauty is, people will line up for the experience.

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Big Brother

@Annihilator

realms of reality? You need to get out of Jobs Reality distortion field (RDF). Ever read the agreement you agreed on? And in what universe the law has ever served for people?

Reality:

1. you do NOT own your iPhone, Apple does.

2. Gov and big companies don't give a damn about what the law says, and there is nothing you can do about it.

3. just because Apple doesn't lose money on jailbreak iDevices, it doesn't mean they won't do anything about it. The simple fact is Apple or Steve himself absolutely hate jailbreak.

I'm not saying Google (or insert any company name you see fit) is much better, they all have their own RDF.

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wrong.

1. Apple doesn't own your iPhone, in most countries the CARRIER does, until your contract expires or unless you bought the device unlocked and off-carrier. In the US, they can only order you to surrender your device if it is under a prorated contract and if they waive termination fees. If your contract terminates and you pay penalties, the device is yours.

2. Big companies do care very much for the law, and the government is accountable to the people. Trust me, i work in corporate and government IT security and compliance, and the policies are very clear. At least in the US, a company breaking the law is significantly more costly than compliance for companies. People think our government is evil, and has the power to do evil things, but honestly it;s just people, most of them fighting to keep their jobs, and under the watchful eye of other people, private auditors, other departments, other branches of government, and the courts. The rare few people in government who go against the law often fall hard, and publicly, and they're not hard to catch.

3. Apple only cares about security patching. They SUPPORT an open hacker community, gave away Darwin for free, love their hackintosh users (unless they try to sell products), and have made NO LEGAL ACTIONS against any of the underground markets or iPhone hackers (aside from those hacking Apple firmware onto non-apple devices with the intent to sell those devices). The very idea that apple is anti-hacker is patently false. The only people against jailbreak are the CARRIERS, who stand to loose significant revenue due to bypassing their ability to detect tethering, SMS messaging, unauthorized VoIP calling (the carriers now mostly approve of VoIP, but that's a recent policy change), and more.

You clearly don't understand government, you don't understand corporate motivations, you don't understand the power a consumer has, and you know nothing about what you;re speaking here. please, cease and desist further comments on this topic until you educate yourself.

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Headmaster

Pedantic grammar alert

"many of the latter like to think of themselves as the former "

You mentioned three types of application, so by implication three types of owner. Therefore it's first, middle and last.

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Silver badge

Maybe they do trust the API

But not the vendor.

Honestly, given Apple's track record of changing and withdrawing things (API, Apps from the store, features, you name it) without notice or explanation, who in their right mind would put any effort in developing an app relying solely on a Johnny-come-lately API from them?

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Big Brother

No Mr Michael C

It is you who doesn't understand what you are talking about.

You see, you misunderstood the difference between Gov servant and Gov. Unless you are politician or who is in charge of what really happening, you are just like me, who serve the gov of the day. We cannot break the law ourselves, we are accountable for what we do.

Politicians are above the law, big companies are above the law. Matter of fact, they are the ones who make the law to serve themselves.

The good people you were talking about, are simple slaves who fight to survive. We do what our masters asked for. I never doubt or disagree with you on this point. However, slaves are not in charge with anything. Slaves follow the rules set by masters.

The masters are the ones who do evils. And there is NOTHING you or any one of us can do about it.

Take recent wikileak event as example, why US of A gov in particular hated wikilead so much, that they want to do anything to silent it. Why UK gov follows US command.

In tech sector, name one big company that doesn't do evil.

Tell me, what exactly we as people can do? "They" control everything. The worst part is there is nothing to replace them (you can only replace one politician with another, one greedy CEO with another greedy CEO). We only get different evils who we (as people collectively) serve as our masters. The choice we have, often at best is to choose the less of <insert the number> evils.

People do have power to force the masters' hand. However, people collectively are also too stupid to use this power. People only have power when people are united. Do you see that happens?

People no longer think or take responsibility anymore. People became too selfish, and "no one" will fight for rights anymore. People power or the so called "consumer power" you dreamed about, long ceased to exist.

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Big Brother

Corporate iPhones probably want to know if they are jailbroken

There are some pretty scary iPhone apps out there - see http://www.iphonespyapp.com/ for some examples.

If you ran a business, you could be in one of two camps:

1. You might want to make sure that the iPhones you gave to your employees do not have such spyware installed on them, or else all corporate emails sent to/from the phone could be read by an unknown third party.

2. You might actually want to install such spyware on the iPhone yourself! You might want to see that the company iPhone is not being misused (or simply used for personal stuff when it shouldn't be), or that the employee is not down the pub when he says he's feeling sick.

For people in the first camp, how are you supposed to be able to tell if a device has been compromised, if the OS can't tell you? Given that the kind of checks you would need to do would be the sort of thing you can't do from a standard app's sandbox, you are pretty much buggered.

Conversely, the author is 100% correct in saying that once the phone is jailbroken, you can't trust anything the OS tells you, because the nice brightly-lit safe walled environment just became a large dark wide open space.

The only way you (as an employer handing out iPhones) can be sure that you know what state the iPhone is in, is to jailbreak it and put spyware on it yourself. I am sure that installing TWO bits of spyware on an iPhone would break something!

It's a bit like carrying your own bomb onto a plane because the chances of having *two* bombs on a plane are miniscule ...

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