NOTE: This is part of a HUGE, ever changing series that explains, in great detail, all about Jailbreaking, from the perspective of the population that do it. This article is one of several sections. To start at the beginning, please visit THIS LINK
To better understand why people do what they do, it’s important to gain a basic knowledge as to how people began doing it, and why. For that, let’s take a quick break and talk about how jailbreaking came about.
The first jailbreaking method was released on June 27, 2007 and made it easy to stay on AT&T and use an iPhone. Consequently, Apple locked their iPhones to the AT&T network in the United States. Three months after the initial jailbreak, another method was discovered, which led to a cat and mouse game between Apple and hackers to patch and exploit security holes.
In February 2008 an Italian computer hacker named Zibri el Fontu found a very important key inside the iPhone. In fact, it was so important that this is the same key which then led to all the jailbreak methods up to today. Zibri himself coded and freely distributed “ZiPhone.” Upon the nearing release of iOS 2.0 (previously iPhone OS), a hacker group called the iPhone Dev Team released a jailbreaking application named “PwnageTool” that used a graphical user interface to jailbreak 2G and 3G versions of the iPhone, and the first generation of iPod Touches then available. The iPhone Dev Team, and another very similar group known as the Chronic Dev Team have been, and will continue to be huge contributors to the jailbreak scene.
When iOS 3.1.2 came out, the hacker responsible for the first iPhone unlock, George Hotz, more popularly known today as “Geohot,” discovered a bootloader exploit (a hole in the security of the actual hardware of the phone) that allowed him to create and release one of the simplest known tools ever to hit the jailbreak scene: “blackra1n.” It was as simple as connecting to the computer, and hitting the button that said “make it ra1n.”
In February 2010, Apple released iOS 3.1.3 with a security patch that’s essential purpose was to block the security breach that Geohot had discovered. This blocked jailbreak’s once again. However, most iPhone and iPod Touch models could be downgraded, and many did in order to obtain a jailbreak with blackra1n.
In April 2010, George Hotz (Geohot) announced that he was working on another jailbreak that would lead to many happy people who had been waiting a long time to get their fix. However no exploit was released for several months, and Geohot announced his retirement from the jailbreaking scene in July, leading some to speculate that the exploit had been ‘hype.’… It wasn’t hype.
On July 25, 2010, the Library of Congress ruled that jailbreaking was explicitly exempted from provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In this ruling, it stated that jailbreaking was a LEGAL act, and that it was acceptable to alter a mobile phone that had been legally purchased. The device belongs to the consumer, and is subject to whatever the consumer wishes to do with it.
On October 10, 2010, in a surprising comeback, his voice was heard again, and he released his tool, “Limera1n” which he had been talking about back in April! The Dev team had been preparing to release their “Greepois0n” software already, but Geohot had beat them to the release date, using an entirely different method of jaibreak then the Dev team. This was a shocker to the hacking community, and as quickly as possible, the Dev Team pushed back their release date slightly, and used Geohot’s method in their “Greenpois0n” tool. By implementing Geohot’s exploit (the hole in the software I was referring to earlier) they were able to save their own exploit for another time. If they would have used it, Apple would then have two holes that it would be aware of, and would then patch up. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
Now, as iOS 4.2.1 has been released for iPhone, the Chronic Dev Team has released Greenpois0n RC5, a recreation of their Greenpois0n tool that will allow the jailbreak of iPhones on both the AT&T and Verizon network, iPod touches, and iPads… all running the most up to date firmware (as of this article).
… time to catch our breath… let’s take a short break, and come back in a few minutes… okay?
Okay… now that you’re impressed as hell how awesome that bird was, we can get back to the jailbreak talk!
That is a very compressed history, but it covers a few primary players in the jailbreak scene, and gives you a brief overview as to how long this has been going on. It really is a game of cat and mouse, and although Apple continues to patch up all the loose ends that hackers discover, they have been unsuccessful in stopping a jailbreak thus far. In fact, the hacking community will be able to get through for a long time to come, as they currently have many exploits on the back-burner that have yet to be used.
So that about wraps up the history lesson, now on to the main point of this article. I’d like to answer a few questions that I commonly see and hear when ever I discuss jailbreaking with people. The majority of iPhone owners have never heard of jailbreaking before, so I’l start with the basics, and work my way up to the more complex parts. Knowledge is power, so without further adue, Let’s get started with a little Q & A:
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