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back to article New tool jailbreaks Microsoft Surface slabs in 20 SECONDS

Microsoft was quick to brush off the debugging hack that allows locked-down Windows RT Surface slabs to run any unauthorised desktop software. But now the exploit has been packaged into a slick jailbreaking tool that can unlock a Redmond fondleslab in seconds. A programmer going by the name of Netham45 has released RT Jailbreak …

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Facepalm

New tool jailbreaks Microsoft Surface slabs in 20 SECONDS

Good to see MS's security initiative delivering results...

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FAIL

They are delivering results - it says the tool takes 20 seconds to jailbreak it - it doesn't say it took 20 seconds for them to work out HOW to break it.

As usual from The Register, biting the hand that feeds IT...so long as it's not Google.

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Facepalm

Netham45 reckons you can jailbreak a slab in about 20 seconds just by running the runExploit.bat file on the tablet and pressing a button

Even more damning will be that improving/fixing this particular security issue will probably be harder for the end user than running the hack in the first place...

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FAIL

I would agree with you, Silverburn.

IF.

1. You didn't need a remote debugger session to the WinRT tablet running to perform this hack.

2. You didn't need to rerun this hack (with remote debugger) EVERY. TIME. YOU. BOOT.

This is not any kind of practical jailbreak and even if it were, what are you going to run on it? Paint.net? Wow.

This FAIL is for you.

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@ dogged.

Way to completely miss the point.

Do you *really* think jailbreaking - in whatever form - should be this easy on an MS operating system / hardware device in 2013?

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Anonymous Coward

I'd not cover it as a security issue, it's a returning proper control to the user issue...

Also it was inevitable things like this would happen, it's just what you get when you basterdise a desktop OS to run on a mobile device.

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Pirate

@Silverburn

Considering the device has been out for several months, and someone is just now able to partially jailbreak it speaks to how well it has held up. Consider that new iOS versions / iDevices are often jailbroken on day one...

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Not really MS

Any type of locked down to make you buy our stuff is not going to work. How long do they take to jailbreak iOS after every update? Most Android devices are easy to root. Even DVD region codes.

This is just another example of how pointless it is to try and lock stuff.

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Facepalm

@Silverburn - if it was easy, it wouldn't need to be done programmatically. The list of instructions to follow is actually way beyond most device owners. Most of them won't even know what the VS debugger is, let alone how to conduct a remote session. Then configuring trust levels in memory... yeah, SOOOOO easy.

And next time you boot, do it again? And again? Within 24 hours of the iPhone 4's release, you could jailbreak it by opening a website.

This is a whole different bucket of cod.

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Windows

This is a whole different bucket of cod.

Still smells fishy though...

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JDX
Gold badge

"Do you *really* think jailbreaking - in whatever form - should be this easy on an MS operating system / hardware device in 2013?"

Sure why not? iOS devices get jailbroken without fail, as do Android devices (those which try to stop you anyway)

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Silver badge

Re: @Zaphod

Time taken to hack also depends on the competition: there is plenty of other kit that is just as good, cheaper and does not require any serious effort to get root access. I do not expect to see good surface hacks until after the tablet sells at fire sale prices.

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FAIL

iPhone 5 iOS6 Jailbreak

Really? the iPhone 5 running the latest iOS6 hasn't been reliably jailbroken yet and some think it might take 6 months.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Silverburn

"Consider that new iOS versions / iDevices are often jailbroken on day one..."

Yeah, not lately, though. There was news in some places a few days ago that there was a nearly finished untethered one for iOS 6:

http://www.redmondpie.com/ios-6-jailbreak-for-iphone-5-untethered-is-ready-on-ios-6.0.2-still-needs-some-work-done-on-ios-6.1/

Really annoying, browsing on my iPad has adverts for now, and I don't have all my nice Cydia-installed command line tools. I probably shouldn't have upgraded it to see just how rubbish Apple Maps really was :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 5 iOS6 Jailbreak

"iPhone 5 iOS6 Jailbreak

Really? the iPhone 5 running the latest iOS6 hasn't been reliably jailbroken yet and some think it might take 6 months."

Have you ever considered doing a bit of research before making a statement like that?

Even if it were true, why bother? How would it 'improve' a phone?

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Anonymous Coward

Erm, but it hasnt really been jailbroken. You still cant permanently change the OS at all. This is just using a debugging tool with admin rights to temporarily turn off code signing.

It doesnt even let you do anything desirable like pirate Store apps as far as I can see?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 5 iOS6 Jailbreak

"Even if it were true, why bother? How would it 'improve' a phone?"

System-wide ad-blocking? Duh.

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Anonymous Coward

hmm...

I'm sure they'd be right on this, if it weren't for the fact that there is already a KB article on the MS web site detailing how to sideload non-signed apps.

That said that app list does look like pretty much everything I'd want to run on a tablet that's not there already.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Silverburn

@Eadon - as you well know the break in at MS was an amusing headline, but the story was more accurately reported as "Thieves steal iPADs when given choice between iPAD, 19" rack mount servers and leaving empty handed."

That said, it was a funny headline.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes...

It's much more like given day release, rather than jail broken.

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WTF?

Hypothetical question

Hypothetically. Only.

It's MY computer; ought I need to "jailbreak" it to install and run programs of my choice?

It is my (hypothetical) computer isn't it? If not, what did I actually buy for my hypothetical $500 or more? Was it merely a one-time, periodically renewable, license to purchase programs, for additional (hypothetical) dollars, from Microsoft's store?

While cryptographic signing of software and secure boot are not bad by themselves, they are not likely to be infallible, as key compromises related to SSL show; and Microsoft has not given strong reason over the last 30 or so years to trust them. More than Microsoft I blame hardware manufacturers for not simply providing the software to generate and replace the platform key, sign software, and maintain the internal key database. Most people would forget or never use it, but it is true equally that most people do not use the BIOS, either with or without a password.

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Re: hmm...

> I'm sure they'd be right on this, if it weren't for the fact that there is already a KB article on the MS web site detailing how to sideload non-signed apps.

And this requires MS Volume licencing and an Enterprise server that is set up as a repository. It is true that a corporate can obtain licences to create their own app store, for RT this may involve having to upgrade the Office RT licences as well because the one that comes with Surface do not allow corporate or commercial use.

So it is not quite what most mean by 'sideloading'.

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Coat

Re: @Zaphod.Beeblebrox

Or...considering that the device has about the same market penetration as chicken pox, it may have just taken awhile to raise enough interest in someone to be arsed to jailbreak it.

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Pint

Did someone actually adopt that position?

"...The list of instructions to follow is actually way beyond most device owners. Most of them won't even know what the VS debugger is, let alone how to conduct a remote session. Then configuring trust levels in memory... yeah, SOOOOO easy. ..."

Whoever adopted such a position needs to get a brain and have it installed. It's right up there with some of the most dim-witted conceptual positions ever.

Complex instructions can be translated into scripts. It takes a few days or perhaps a week or two. It's inevitable.

Then ANYONE can 'click-click'.

Duh.

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Thumb Up

About time!

I've been waiting fo rthis since the Surface was released. Now, we just need to get one that doesn't have to be re-run each time the device is rebooted and I'll be all set!

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Pint

Re: About time!

Well, Windows does include this thing called task scheduler.

I suppose most windows users are not used to a cron like program, but it exists.

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is the number of seconds...

it takes to jailbreak worthy of being in the headline?

if it took a minute would it be any different?

and how long have we been calling gaining root access jailbreaking? keep that for the daily mail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: is the number of seconds...

Actually, you can already get admin access on WinRT, that's not the problem- even as admin, you can't run non-signed apps.

Maybe *you* should read less Faily Mail, too.

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Gimp

The ATIV was Samsung's Windows 8 PC, tablet and Windows Phone 8 range, and was the backwards spelling of vita, meaning "life" in Latin.

I'm quickly growing rather fond of Samsung

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Gold badge

So is it life backwards because MS are finally coming back to life in the mobile sector? Or because all life at Redmond is backward? Or a dig at the Sony PS Vita? Enquiring minds would like to know.

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Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: MS are DEAD in the mobile sector

I guess you havnt seen ther latest sales figures then:

http://wmpoweruser.com/windows-phone-grew-more-than-400-in-uk-in-2012-retailers-report-strong-reaction-to-new-wp8-handsets-better-than-expected-sales/

My Nokia shares are doing very nicely too :-)

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Joke

Re: MS are DEAD in the mobile sector

Oh dear Eadon. It was a joke.

Relax. Even if WP8 takes 10% market share, it won't personally do you any harm... It's not a total fail, it's not the success they were hoping for. It's somewhere in between. They can still keep growing and improving the OS, or they can screw up in some big way and lose the lot. Such is the life of a platform playing catch-up.

[I don't think I've ever had to use the Joke Alert icon before...]

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FAIL

Run *any* desktop software of their choosing?

Methinks not!

That would be any old desktop app which has been recompiled for ARM, the list of which is exceedingly small.

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Alert

Re: Run *any* desktop software of their choosing?

Absolutely right, Dave! Readers should be clear that this will *NOT* allow Windows RT to execute desktop software code compiled for x86, as Windows RT and the Surface RT run on ARM, not x86.

This story needs correcting!

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Silver badge

Re: Run *any* desktop software of their choosing?

Well... it might come in handy for homebrew apps... like one that resets the bootloader to run the OS of your choice... just saying.

Now if only some numpty gets iOS running on it, just to piss off the maximum number of fanbois, of all creeds!

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Bronze badge

that there hadn't been a "very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace"

Windows Restricted Tablet.

Make better suggestions below:

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Anonymous Coward

Re: that there hadn't been a "very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace"

Windows RISC Terminator

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Anonymous Coward

Re: that there hadn't been a "very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace"

Windows Rooted Turd

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Pirate

Aharrrrrrrrrr

... piracy.... Microsoft's most successful marketing strategy to date. I don't expect them to fill the gap soon.

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Joke

Oh, how I love pearoasting this...

Windows RG... really good.

http://fwd.im/WinRG (needs Flash, of course)

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Trollface

RE: (needs Flash, of course)

Of course, all the really good stuff on the internet needs Flash.

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Thumb Up

Re: Oh, how I love pearoasting this...

http://fwd.im/WinRG (needs Flash, of course)

Delightful

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Mushroom

Re: Win 8 RT rooted

Except that it doesnt. Windows RT has better battery life than any Android tablet with a similar screen resolution and without an extra battery....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Win 8 RT rooted

He is right though, RT lasts longer: http://media.bestofmicro.com/4/T/360461/original/gamingriptide.png

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Re: Win 8 RT rooted

Except that it doesnt. Windows RT has better battery life than any Android tablet with a similar screen resolution and without an extra battery....

Think about what your saying here. If you saved the money that a Windows RT Surface device cost and spent that same amount of money on an Android tablet there is NO WAY you'd get an Android tablet with a similar screen resolution for that price. You would get a much better far superior screen resolution on your Android device. The Android screen resolutions for that money would all blow the Windows RT Surface out of the water because it's overpriced and under specc'd

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Re: Win 8 RT rooted

And the recharge speed is phenomenal!

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