Apple has fired another salvo against the iPhone jailbreaking scene with their claim that jailbroken iPhones could be used to attack and disable cell-towers, as well as helping drug dealers avoid getting pinched by the “fuzz.” In the ongoing battle between Apple and iPhone hackers, Apple would have us believe that iPhone hackers could levy “potentially catastrophic” cyber-attacks against wireless networks.
At issue is whether or not consumers have the right to jailbreak their iPhones, or any other mobile phone for that matter. The “jailbreak” refers to a process that frees a cellphone’s file-system, allowing the user to install third-party software that would otherwise be impossible. In the case of the iPhone, the jailbreak essentially hacks the security measures Apple has put in place to protect the iPhone’s operating system. Under the current version of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, “no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” As it stands, the iPhone jailbreak violates the law of the land.
But, there’s hope yet for consumers. The Copyright Office takes requests every three years for exceptions to the DMCA, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has put in a petition to allow consumers to jailbreak their handsets as they see fit. After all, once the consumer buys the device, it should be theirs to do with as they please.
Apple’s latest filing claims that the jailbreak gives hackers access to the iPhone’s baseband processor (BBP) code, which controls how the iPhone connects to cellular networks. With a little clever hacking, cyber-terrorists could send commands to a cell-tower that could leave it completely useless. Apple claims that allowing the jailbreak exemption to be approved is tantamount to giving hackers the keys that open the doors to cell-tower controls.
And, as if to hammer home the idea that jailbreaking is no good, Apple mentions that the jailbreak also allows an iPhone hacker to alter the handset’s identification number. That would allow the iPhone to make calls anonymously – which “would be desirable to drug dealers.”
Feel like sticking it to the “man” and jailbreaking your iPhone? Check out our iPhone 3GS jailbreak and unlock guide! (works with iPhone and iPhone 3G as well)
Find the EFF’s jailbreak petition here.
Find Apple’s original DMCA petition here.