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Cellphones Businesses Communications Apple

Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking Could Hurt Cell Towers 495

AHuxley writes "Apple suggests that the nation's cellphone networks could be open to 'potentially catastrophic' cyberattacks by iPhone-using hackers at home and abroad if iPhone owners are permitted to legally jailbreak their wireless devices. The Copyright Office is currently considering a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to legalize the widespread practice of jailbreaking. Apple has responded to the request by saying that if the 'baseband processor' software — which enables a connection to cell phone towers — is exposed, then a user could crash the tower software, or use the Exclusive Chip Identification number to make calls anonymously. Apple also thinks its closed business model is what made the iPhone a success. The Vodafone scandal from a few years back showed how a network could be compromised, but that was from within. So, what do you think? Is Apple playing the 'evil genius' hacker card or can 'anyone' with a smartphone and a genius friend pop a US cell tower?"
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Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking Could Hurt Cell Towers

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:05AM (#28866645) Homepage
    Those poor little cell phone towers. I'm glad somebody is thinking about them.
    • by YayaY ( 837729 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:23AM (#28866977) Homepage

      Security by obscurity does not get you very far. If the cell tower software is so fragile, it needs to be secured correctly.

      • Play the fear card (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Smegly ( 1607157 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:39AM (#28867243)
        Play the fear card whenever you want your political way...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joce640k ( 829181 )

        Maybe they have a problem with backwards compatibility and can't just replace all the software without breaking all the handsets out there.

        • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:43AM (#28867313) Homepage

          I'd imagine that the software is locked down well enough for the current environment. Playing devil's advocate, you could see how somebody who had found an exploit in the iPhone OS could make anonymous calls. Or potentially launch a DoS on a tower is they had a large army of compromised iPhones. And, while I don't know jack about cell-phone-tower-handshaking-protocol, perhaps you could initiate some kind of DoS by doing the equivalent of a SYN flood with a smaller group of phones.

          Apart from those possibilities, I don't see much danger.

        • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:52AM (#28867513)

          If the software is vulnerable, it is vulnerable with or without a jailbroken iPhone. Even confiscating every single iPhone in existence will not stop someone from taking advantage of the vulnerabilities, if they are so inclined.

          • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @02:04PM (#28870195)

            True, this is like MS claiming allowing unauthorized applications and devices on the internet would break the ISP's or Tier 1 provider's routers and then locking up all applications with a App store raking in 30% of the cost compulsorily.

            Also, from the response from Apple:

            Looking at the four statutory fair use
            factors,18 although the use per se of the modified iPhone bootloader and OS on an individual
            handset is of a personal nature, it is not a transformative use, and because a jailbroken OS is
            often used to play pirated content, the act of jailbreaking should be considered of a commercial
            nature since it facilitates obtaining applications without paying fees for the them.


            In sum, the value of the OS software to the iPhone, and therefore to Apple, is that it
            enables the iPhone to function as a platform for the mobile computing experience that
            differentiates the iPhone from its many competitors. This, in turn, increases the value of Appleâ(TM)s
            iPhone copyrights and, again, overall consumer utility, making the iPhone a more attractive
            product to consumers.

            Huh? WTF? A jailbroken OS is often used to play pirated content? Apple keeps rejecting(censoring?) useful apps that developers and companies have spent lots of time and money on for silly reasons such as political content, duplication of functionality, mature content etc. The real reason is not piracy, it's because Apple wants to keep that 30% cut of all apps sold and control all the content while at the same time not angering AT&T with their approved Apps to keep the ~$17/month that Apple gets paid for each iPhone customer.

            Is this what Apple calls the platform for the mobile computing experience? And there are a bunch of people including Jobs calling the iPod touch the equivalent of a netbook. [] [] Please, no thanks.Do not pervert the word computer to mean a walled garden. Call it a phone, gaming console, e-book reader etc. if you wish. This makes the evil MS look like defenders of freedom in shining armor. God forbid if a company like Apple won the PC wars back in the 80s instead of IBM/PC compatibles. *shudder*

          • by lorenzo.boccaccia ( 1263310 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @02:58PM (#28871197)
            Aren't there linux phones? 3g enabled laptops? Those are far more flexible than an iphone, so this is a really moot point from apple...
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:39AM (#28867263) Journal
        Worse, trusting the client is always an idiotic plan. Even if it isn't iSteve's precious baby, there will always be some phone(s) were the evil unauthorized users have access to the baseband(if nothing else, the people who design phones have to have the baseband interface specs, and I'm sure that sort of thing gets lost/dumpster dived/hacked/inside-jobbed from time to time). Solving cell tower security issues by trying to lock every handset would be like trying to make the internet safe by making Symantec Endpoint Security mandatory for all devices with public IPs.

        This is just Apple wrapping themselves in the "Security" blanket to get what they want. Should we expect a series of PSAs about how iPhone jailbreaking aids the terrorists?
        • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:46AM (#28867367) Homepage

          Should we expect a series of PSAs about how iPhone jailbreaking aids the terrorists?

          Might not be as far off as you think. "...could...use the Exclusive Chip Identification number to make calls anonymously." sounds like a good set-up for that kind of approach.

      • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:48AM (#28867411) Homepage Journal

        If you were a giant company making shit-tons of money for lazy coding, would you pay for the security changes, or would you do the much cheaper and simpler option of passing legislation that makes breaking your crappy code illegal?

        Remember, they've already bought the congresspersons and senators needed.

        • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:53AM (#28867557)

          Attacking a cell tower is already illegal. No additional legislation is needed here.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

            Attacking a cell tower is already illegal. No additional legislation is needed here.

            People take drugs, speed on the highway, jaywalk, run red lights, improperly dispose of hazardous wastes, etc etc etc.
            Legality is almost irrelevant when the capability and desire is widespread.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "When you outlaw hacking cellphones,
          "then only criminals will have working phones!"

          That meme doesn't quite work here, but the point is valid. Passing a law to stop people from hacking cellphones is Not going to ctop criminals from attacking towers anyway. Criminals don't give a fuck about laws.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:05AM (#28866647)

    Even Microsoft isn't this stupid... yet anyway.

    I've been avoiding Apple products due to their control issues, but this is just ridiculous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      *facepalm* Apple. God damn...

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:18AM (#28866875) Homepage

      Why single out Apple products. The whole concept of a "smart phone" is ingsoc lies.

      A phone is the piece of tech that you can never really own. Many people accept this and take the "free" phone, and pay the high monthly rental.
      The built in obsolescence has got to be one of the worst in the industry.

      MP3 player, calendar, organiser, GPS, ebook reader, camera, bomb, those can all converge as much as they like. Just not with anything that needs a SIM card.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nursie ( 632944 )

        "A phone is the piece of tech that you can never really own."

        Not really.

        I mean, theoretically anyway. The Neo Freerunner was a tragically badly run project with old technology, a huge price tag and general stink of FAIL. That said, it was a fully programmable phone that you owned and could be used just fine with a base station. Hell, dev models of the android phones are also like this.

        Built in obsolescence is only a problem because the state of the art is advancing so rapidly. Like PCs in the late 90s and e

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

        by FrostDust ( 1009075 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:33PM (#28868365)

        A phone is the piece of tech that you can never really own. Many people accept this and take the "free" phone, and pay the high monthly rental.

        If people want a basic phone, and don't care about the fancy smartphone features, then why shouldn't they be able to pay less for a cheaper model? I do think they should give you a discount if you didn't have them subsidize the phone (use your own device, or pay full retail for the phone), as it does seem unfair that the person who got a $200 dollar subsidy, and is paying it off over two years, pays the same as someone who doesn't owe them that money.

        Also, you can easily "own" a phone. Many online retailers, even official manufacturer's websites ( for example), as well as physical retail stores, let you buy a phone at full price, without having to sign a contract. When you do sign up for a plan, there's no term commitment or ETF, because you've already payed full price for the phone.

        In the US, the common plan for a mobile phone comes as a two-year contract. After that, you can cancel your service at any time, and they won't bug you to send the phone back or pay them back for it by paying the ETF.

        The built in obsolescence has got to be one of the worst in the industry.

        Are you expecting them to let you upgrade the RAM or something? Throw in some PCI slots?

        MP3 player, calendar, organiser, GPS, ebook reader, camera, bomb, those can all converge as much as they like. Just not with anything that needs a SIM card.

        My current smart phone (an HTC device) can do all that with the SIM card removed, no monthly fees or anything. Well, I haven't tried using it as a bomb, but I'd imagine that wouldn't need a SIM card either.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:53AM (#28867535) Homepage
      What Apple is saying is wrong. Everybody with any knowledge of the system knows it's wrong; even if cell towers were susceptible, jailbreaking doesn't touch the baseband software on the phone. Yet they make the claim anyway, knowing it's false, presumably because they're hoping nobody involved in this process at the Copyright Office has the technical knowledge to know it's BS. Let's call this what it is: it's a lie.

      Shouldn't there be some sort of consequences for just lying in a process like this? I know in courts there is perjury, for lying under oath, but what legal consequences are there for lying in this kind of situation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NonSequor ( 230139 )

      I haven't read the story but I guarantee that this argument was a product of the Lawyer's Algorithm, which is as follows:

      List all objections to the matter at hand

      While true {
          List all conceivable objections premised on the prior objections being rejected

  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jvillain ( 546827 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:06AM (#28866671)

    Ya bad people won't look for flaws in the system if only Apple can keep people tied to their contracts. I'm having a hard time seeing the logic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 )

      Not only that, but if it really is such a big problem, then fix the cell architecture. The thing I find truly laughable is the justification that a drug dealer could use this to make anonymous calls/data transfer/whatever. The whole point of this discussion is to give *legitimate, honest citizens* the right to modify their phones. Do you think the drug dealer is worried about whether or not it is legal or not? He's already breaking the law in trafficking drugs, what's running the Pwnage tool going to hu

  • THE TERR'STS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by a whoabot ( 706122 )

    Apple has picked up one from the playbook of the Bush Administration.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think we need a corollary to Godwin's Law as it pertains to linking actions to the Bush Administration. Is there no limit?
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:07AM (#28866679) Journal
    We should ban the sale of iPhones with this potentially dangerous bug until Apple can fix it, either by providing unlocked iPhones, or without this being handled by the iHpone's locking mechanism.
    • by cpotoso ( 606303 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:45AM (#28867365) Journal
      Exactly my thoughts. If the iphone is so damn dangerous, then apple should be forced to recall all of them off the market. There can be no double standards here: if the device is bad for the networks then the device should not be approved. If the device is OK (and it certainly is) then stop bitching when people do what they want with the device they OWN.
  • hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aldousd666 ( 640240 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:07AM (#28866683) Journal
    Don't ALL cell phones, even that aren't iphones, especially those which have the capability to install software on them, have this same problem?

    This seems like the equivalent of saying 'If you are allowed to install software on your PC you might bring down your ISP's entire network."

    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:12AM (#28866765)
      Absolutely, If you have a PC with a 3G wireless card you should not be allowed to install any software.
    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by BorgDrone ( 64343 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:14AM (#28866797) Homepage

      Don't ALL cell phones, even that aren't iphones, especially those which have the capability to install software on them, have this same problem?

      No, you're not able to access or change the baseband software. Also, jailbreaking the iPhone doesn't change the baseband AFAIK. Only the SIM-lock does require changing the baseband, which is a completely separate issue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sockatume ( 732728 )

        So what Apple really wants, is to save us all from cellular catastrophe by locking us to AT&T and O2? The network that can't make MMS work and the network that lost a sizable chunk of its coverage because of a single, trivial fire last week? It's like saying you'll protect me from corruption by securing the jobs of MPs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      No, they don't. cellphones use a phone chipset that is separate from the phone. you send it serial data to dial or do data or messaging, controls and you get audio out.

      The chipset for the cellular network is SEPARATE from the phone's system that runs the screen, keypad, ringer,etc....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Torne ( 78524 )

        Most cellphones do *not* use a separate baseband processor, because this is expensive. Almost all non-smartphones only have one processor which runs a realtime proprietary OS responsible for both the UI and the modem stack: Nokia S40 is the prime example of this.

        Some smartphones have a separate baseband processor, true, but only because the OS the application processor runs is not realtime and thus not capable of supporting a modem stack; and even then many of them just run the application OS as a subtask o

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 )


          it's is cheaper to use pre-manufactured chips than to make your own setup. You are telling me that apple had a customer cellphone radio chipset made for their phone instead of using a OTS part?

          Wow. When was the last time you looked inside a cellphone? the GPS is a standard chipset that is a part of most cellphone chipsets. it's why gps's are in most phones.

          P.S. Iphone uses a normal Cellphone baseband processor chipset and not a special one that allows the main cpu to do all the processing. Infei

  • by sys.stdout.write ( 1551563 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:08AM (#28866691)
    then only outlaws will own cracked iPhones!

    Seriously - if you're going to do an illegal activity (hacking) anyway, then making another activity (jailbreaking) illegal isn't going to deter you.
  • by dzym ( 544085 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:08AM (#28866693) Homepage Journal

    If somebody's going to try to "pop" a cell tower they're certainly not going to care if step 1 of the process was legal or not.

  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jackb_guppy ( 204733 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:08AM (#28866699)

    Apple is just trying to bad monopolist and keep the cash rolling in. Next it would not have a lock on apps, hence anyone can load what they want as service (background) - so Skype or Google app can vut the phone use costs.

  • Makes you wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:09AM (#28866707)
    If a jailbroken iPhone can potentially crash a cell tower but a regular run-of-the-mill cell phone cannot, it really makes me wonder what cool toys they've hidden in the jesus phone that makes it so life-threateningly dangerous that it needs to be encased in a kryptonite shield.
    • It really makes me wonder why, if Apple is correct, we are relying on security through obscurity to protect our cell phone towers?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If this is true then they all apps potentially have complete access to the raw cell network, surely this is a bad idea?

      On a normal phone, or any other smartphone the cell layer and the application layer are almost completely separate ....

      Either Apple have done some severely sloppy programming or they are lying ?

  • Ya, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeLLFiRe1151 ( 743468 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:09AM (#28866709)
    If a person is going to commit a felony "cyberattacks", why the hell would they worry about the legality of jailbreaking? It's like armed bank robbers worrying that they're fully automatic rifle isn't legal.
  • Assholes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by TJamieson ( 218336 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:09AM (#28866711)
    The Exclusive Chip Identifier? Aka the ECID []?

    That thing was added solely to make it harder to unlock the phone for other carriers!
  • iPhone + Jailbreak = iPwn

    At least, iPwn cellphone towers.

  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866723)
    Instead of locking the whole thing down, just lock down the baseband processor. That way people who want to run their own apps can do so without having to jailbreak anything, and the baseband processor won't have any attention given to it. But of course this would still be a problem with AT&T, who provides the connectivity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 )

      That's what every other mobile operating system does. Apple is essentially suggesting that they are less competent.

      Remember how they were playing up the "security flaws" of the other mobile devices, to rationalize not having an SDK, then to rationalize having a closed SDK, and yet, every jailbreak technique roots the device. The iPhone is demonstratively the least secure mobile device out there.

  • Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakin020 ( 980931 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866729)

    If these towers could be brought down from a user who jailbroke his iPhone, then it would have happened already.

    No hacker is going to say "Oh well I guess I can't bring down this series of towers, ATT/Apple said it's not legal. Darn..."

    This is the lamest excuse I've heard yet...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "If these towers could be brought down from a user who jailbroke his iPhone, then it would have happened already."

      That, my friend, is a logical fallacy. Right up there with; "If it's doable, then it's already been done."

  • Slashdot-Article []

    then Apple will be forced to sell iphones unlocked from the factory leaving AT&T out in the cold :)
  • Total crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866733) Homepage

    It would be like saying that allowing PC/Mac programmers to use the IP sockets API will let them crash their local router.

    Give us a break Apple, you're coming across as more and more control freaks and foolish every week.

  • by getclear ( 1338437 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866735)
    We all know the deal. If I wanted to compromise said cellular network, I could use the current published, freely, and openly available jailbreaking techniques. If they legalize jailbreaking of the phones, it is not going to legalize hacking cellphone towers, so the people that are going to do it are already trying. This is just a another preemptive strike by Apple. They are going to lose credibility, because too much press in a short ammount of time for a company can be just as bad as flying under the wire. I think it is time they slip back into the ether and keep quiet for a few weeks.
  • Other smartphones? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FTWinston ( 1332785 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:10AM (#28866739) Homepage
    There are other smartphones on the market, you know. And the rest of them aren't limited to apple's draconian app store submission process.

    Surely such a hacker could just use another smartphone platform? Seems like a last-ditch attempt to justify their control-freakery.
  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:11AM (#28866753) Homepage Journal
    In order for the towers to be protected, there must be a *law* against jailbreaking (a practice that is currently perfectly feasible, just questionably legal). Will the law, sensing a helpless tower is in danger, jump off the page and stop the evil hacker from using his jailbroken phone to expose flaws in the upstream hardware/software, and save the day?

    Even if this is true, legislation is clearly NOT the way to go here. Either they are giving away too many secrets just by having easily exploited hardware/software in consumers hands, or they are running woefully unprotected towers (or both). In any case, a law against it isn't going to do a whole lot except speed the prosecution of said 'evil hacker' who would already be breaking numerous laws anyway.
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:12AM (#28866761)
    Apples isn't so much worried about hacking as it's a possibility with any smartphone. It's worried more about it's profit margin with exclusive contracts; this allows them to take a percentage of the contracts rather while undercutting the price of their devices. If they were to lose this exclusivity, they would either have to raise the price of their devices again or accept that their profit margins have been cut... and that is the real thing they are arguing against.
  • by Abraxis ( 180472 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:13AM (#28866777)

    Because it being illegal will stop those intent on using their phones for nefarious purposes FROM JAILBREAKING THEIR iPHONES? Sorta like how traffic laws will prevent robbers from double parking while pulling a bank heist (double parking the vehicle can speed the getaway!!).

    • by Abraxis ( 180472 )

      (Not to compare the social harm of double parking to iPhone jailbreaking..... sorry jailbreakers, didn't mean to compare you to double parkers! )

    • Except when double parking results in them being noticed by a cop before they even come out of the bank.

  • by scout-247 ( 1127737 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:15AM (#28866805)
    The ability to make anonymous phone calls shouldn't be seen as such an evil.
  • Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mhkohne ( 3854 )

    If jailbroken iPhones can hurt cell towers, then it's already too late, because there are already jailbroken iPhones. So how does making jailbreaks illegal help this problem? It doesn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If jailbroken iPhones can hurt cell towers, then it's already too late, because there are already jailbroken iPhones.

      If jailbroken iPhones can hurt towers, so can un-jailbroken (incarcerated?) ones. All it takes is a bug . . .

  • Lying like dogs... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:17AM (#28866861) Homepage

    Wow are they full of crap. Or the iphone is crappy designed.

    I se a GSM open module every day.... []

    I use this thing and I have full access to all it's parts except for the sourcecode to the phone/modem.

    If the iphone does not have one of these phone chipsets in it like the other 99.9987% of the cellphones on the planet, then they made a really crappy phone.

  • Keep in mind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bferrell ( 253291 )

    ATT and the old bell system made the argument that phones they didn't make (and rent/lease to subscribers) would harm the network. It took the carterphone decision to make THAT lie go away

    • The network argument was core to protecting the old Ma Bell (former/real AT&T) for many years. They used the same argument that unapproved equipment could damage the network. Now the new AT&T (and Apple) is trying the same argument about "danger" to infrastructure. Although there many have been some technical reasons for both arguments, it's really about profit.

      I hope the software/hardware on the towers and switching systems is robust enough to handle rouge events. Even if there aren't jail bro
  • What a bunkerload of crap. it's either the IPhone OS that allows that because of a flaw, or just plain FUD (my friend Occam tells me his razor points to the second option). In both cases, why can't we do it with other phones that aren't IPhones? Huuuumm??

  • by abroadst ( 541007 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:20AM (#28866915)
    Apple doesn't learn. This very same strategy is what gave Microsoft such a big opening in the 80s. If Apple sticks to the closed system approach they will have higher price points in the short term, but long term will lose out to more open platforms like Android where the incentives for a more diverse network of partners will be greater. In the early 80s Apple outsold IBM and everybody else in PCs. They took their Apple II win and moved up-market with the Mac. Sure the technology and user experience were radically better than the competition, but they further closed down the platform to partners and end users. Pretty quickly the open platform, multi-vendor combination promoted by IBM, Microsoft, and Intel won the day - even though it didn't work as well.
  • If a few rouge iPhones are capable of messing up the cellphone network, then isn't that a general problem with the network rather than if the user has access to all the settings of the device? I mean, build a few phone-like devices in your garage, set them all to go off at a certain time, then drive around and drop the "bombs" near different towers. Why is the iPhone anything special?
  • by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:36AM (#28867191)

    Is the problem with any cellphone that allows you to install your own software or are jail broken iPhones the only potential terrorist threat? This could be really dumb for Apple, you know equating their own product to anthrax and missing nukes. It certainly didn't work for BioTerror Coke.

  • hahahahaha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:39AM (#28867265)
    and hahahahahaha!
    Maybe if people put their jailbroken phones in trebuchets and fire them at cell towers...
  • Idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomz16 ( 992375 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:59AM (#28867645)
    This is IDIOTIC. How can any reasonable person possibly buy this argument.

    Anyone that wants to bring down a cell phone tower or cell network IS NOT GOING TO CARE whether or not it's LEGAL to screw with the cell radio baseband software. They are ALREADY attempting to do something much worse.

    Let's be honest here, the "security" aspect of this argument is a smokescreen. It's blatantly all about the profit!

    Furthermore, the cellular network should NOT be so fragile that a single rogue cell phone could take it down (AFAIK it is not). BUT if AT&T is truly insistent on making this argument, then I believe a full investigation by the FCC is mandated. The self-admitted fragile state of their network means that their stewardship of a public resource (radio spectrum) is being poorly managed and truly endangering national security.
  • by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:04PM (#28867755)

    If a single cell phone using hacked firmware can crash a cell tower, then the tower needs fixed.

    This is nothing more than an attempt by Apple to retain control of and thus be able to profit more from their product to the detriment of their customers.

  • by lazlow ( 94602 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:04PM (#28867765) Journal

    Having worked with cell switches in the past, I have 2 words for Apple. BULL SHIT!!!

  • Bad phone design? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:07PM (#28867825) Homepage

    WinMo phones have been open to app developers for years, I don't see them crashing cell towers.

    Similarly, people have been "cooking" custom OS image ROMs for WinMo phones for years, and I haven't heard of them crashing cell towers either.

    So either the iPhone has no way of crashing cell towers if arbitrary applications are run on it, or it has a severely deficient hardware/software architecture compared to Windows Mobile in terms of security.

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:15PM (#28867993)
    Additional research by Apple Labs has shown that unlocked iPhones cause erectile dysfunction, global warming, birth defects, and leprosy. Protect yourself by purchasing a new, locked iPhone with a five year contract extension. It's the only way to be safe.
  • Not the first time (Score:3, Informative)

    by bruckie ( 217355 ) <> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:40PM (#28868497) Homepage

    This sounds a lot like the 40-year-old Carterfone decision [], where AT&T argued that allowing people to connect third-party devices to their network could disrupt or degrade service. I'm pretty sure that modems and Panasonic phones didn't ruin the telephone system, and I have a feeling that jailbroken iPhones wouldn't be the end of the world, either.


  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @12:49PM (#28868725) Journal

    Caveat: My understanding of "jailbreaking" is that this allows people to run applications not available in the app store. IE, applications that haven't been blessed by Apple. This is different from unlocking the phone, which allows you to change carriers.

    Given that, what is the difference between an iPhone running arbitrary apps and any other smartphone doing the same thing? I'm trying to get my mind around this. Is Apple saying that the fact I could install some third party app on my Treo 750 back when I had it, or can on my Blackberry now, does *not* present a threat to cell towers, but installing a non-blessed 3rd party app on the iPhone does? If so, what makes the iPhone different?

    Or is it that this is a danger with all smartphones, and Apple is trying to be responsible with the platform under their control? If so, why haven't we seen widespread reports of people crashing cell towers willy-nilly with some poisonous app running on a Curve?

    By this notice, is Apple saying that they have done a thorough security analysis of each and every one of the 65,000 apps available on the app store, and is offering assurance that none of these apps have the ability, say some hidden easter egg, of bringing down a cell tower? Is Apple thereby assuming liability for any cell tower damage that might incur from an app available from the app store? Apple's statement "The technological protection measures were designed into the iPhone precisely to prevent these kinds of pernicious activities, and if granted, the jailbreaking exemption would open the door to them" seems to infer an assumption of liability for non-jailbroken phones. I wonder if Apple has thought through the legal ramifications of these statements.

    And finally, is Apple saying that "a local or international hacker" intent on "initiat[ing] commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data" would be stopped in his nefarious (and extremely illegal) deeds by the (mild, in comparison) legal prohibition against jailbreaking the phone?

    Is that what Apple is saying? I just want to be clear on this.

    Or, could the real issue be that Apple has in their contract with AT&T (as RIM does also, unfortunately) that certain capabilities [] will not be available through the app store that could be used to side-step carrier fees? Is it possible that this is the real issue, and the security issue is a rather weak smoke screen? Mind you, if that really is the case, then fine. It's their product, they can assume any position they want. But have the intellectual honesty to cop to it.

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @04:06PM (#28872393)
    If Apple sold the phones unlocked or at least allowed any consumer to pay a fee to legally unlock their phones at a wireless carrier store, most people would not have any need to jailbreak. I can see the danger of jailbreaking and software unlock code having either bugs or malicious backdoors which could be used crash networks.

    My 3Gs is not jailbroken or unlocked but I had to jailbreak and unlock my 3G before I sold it as it was sold to someone on the Rogers network and that phone was bought at Fido. I would rather not have to risk using untested and forensically unverified just to be able to use foreign sims in my 3GS and I'd be willing to pay a fee to Fido to be able to unlock the device.

    Carriers should give consumers a break but giving a legal/official option for unlocking phones especially if we bought it unsubsidized.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."