The Game of Jailbreaks

Posted In Jailbreak News - By Sean On Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Many users such as myself wait with baited breath for jailbreaks to get released. It is always impressive to see without a doubt, every single release of iOS fall to the jailbreak community. No matter how strong or well designed, there is always something left out. Once upon a time, security was explained to me like this: “Security is like a blanket with holes, it keeps you warm, but there is always a place where the air can get through. That’s why you use more than one blanket. Just because the air can get through one of the blankets, doesn’t mean that the holes are lined up in the same place as the one underneath it, and thus you always stay warm.”

While this is a very good explanation, there is also one other thing that must be remembered. Hackers only need to find the 1 in a million flaw in the security, while programmers have to find every single flaw. So while there are many times when I am surprised that iOS has been hacked yet again, these two statements flash in my head and I remember that there are smart people that work for both sides, and without a doubt, there is more going on behind the scenes than we know. Jailbreaking iOS is something that Apple claims to be against, yet, somehow, the same sorts of holes always reveal themselves to the hackers. This has never been more true than with jailbreakme.com. Jailbreaking the iPad 2, iPhone 4, and many other devices running the most up to date software has never really been easier. With of course the exception of about a year ago, when the SAME vulnerability lead to a similar jailbreak for the iOS family. Apple was incredibly quick to pick up the slack and patch the hole then, yet here we are, a summer later, and the hole reveals itself once more.

When this most recent jailbreakme.com pdf vulnerability was released, I was shocked to see the similarity to the design, the flaw, and how simple it was to jailbreak Apple’s latest software. This current release of jailbreame.com does not support iOS 5, there are other reports of iOS 5 already being jailbroken as well. The teams behind that however, do not want to release the nature of the jailbreak, lest Apple find out and patch the hole too quickly before the next beta release.

This doesn’t seem fishy to anyone else? For me, while I watch the cat and mouse game that they developers and Apple play, I have to start considering that the great game is a farce. There has never failed to be a jailbreak, even when Apple has said they had developed an UN-jailbreakable system. This has never been the case. For a company that touts their computer Operating System to not need anti-virus because “Macs do not get viruses”, their iOS platform seems woefully unprepared for the dangerous world out there. When I first noticed this, I started to see deeper, and when iOS 5 was announced and released, I realized what was really going on.

With the buyout of MobileNotifyer and the implementation into iOS 5, I started to see deeper into the shady atmosphere of Apples way of thinking. Leaving the way open for Jailbreakers is a simple way to gain free development. People jailbreak their devices because they want to do more than Apple will allow them to do, so it would make sense for Apple to pay close attention to what people are doing in the jailbreak world, because it speaks volumes about what their own users want out of their devices. MobileNotifyer was a great example of what people wanted in iOS, and Apple saw that, and moved to make it happen. If jailbreaking wasn’t possible, Apple would have had to come up with the complete design themselves without any starting place. The jailbreak world allowed Apple to have a quick peek at what we wanted as users, and have a step up in giving it to us. Without having to pay a developer to do the research it required. Purchasing the company and the Intellectual Rights was a lot easier I would think.

This is not a bad thing. I will say, for the people who jailbreak simply to download cracked Apps, for shame. There are a lot of developers out there who work very hard on their Apps and deserve to get paid for them. To steal from them is like turning on our own in the Geek community. We are all out there trying to make the devices better for each other, and stealing from our fellow geeks and programmers has never sat right with me. Jailbreaking my device so I can get a few extra features, or to get a cool theme is one thing. However, to steal from my own kind is something else entirely. So while I feel like jailbreaking is a way for Apple to get their hands on some insider information as to what we the users want, there is a price we pay for that.

To quote a favorite author of mine, George R.R. Martin, “In the game of [jailbreaks], you either win or you die.”

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