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Jailbreakers Crack New iPhone OS Release Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 09 February 2010

By Cara Garretson

Apple last Tuesday released upgrades to its iPhone OS to patch some security vulnerabilities and fix a battery indicator issue. By Sunday, code was available on the Internet to let jailbreakers upgrade to the new version while still keeping their phones connected to unauthorized wireless networks.

iPhone OS 3.1.3 and iPhone OS 3.1.3 for iPod Touch are both available for download now from iTunes. The release of the upgrade meant that jailbreakers -- users who install unauthorized code from third parties on their iPhones to make the devices work with wireless carriers other than AT&T Wireless -- would have to wait until hackers found a way to crack the upgraded OS.

That took all of five days, as Iphone DevTeam on Sunday posted code that lets certain users who jail-broke their phone upgrade to the new OS, but still connect to non-AT&T Wireless networks. iPhone DevTeam posted a number of warnings and instructions along with the code, as well as recommendations that if users aren’t experiencing issues with their battery indicators, there’s no real reason to upgrade.

“We aren’t revealing any new exploits to Apple with this jailbreak,” says the blog post. “Everything here has been used before, it’s just a straightforward port of Pwnage2 and 24Kpwn to the new firmware.”

The new version of the iPhone OS fixes problems that caused older versions to display inaccurate battery levels, and also addresses conflicts with certain third-party applications.

On the security front, the new version fixes a buffer overflow problem that occurred in earlier versions when handling mp4 audio files, according to Apple. A maliciously crafted mp4 file had been able to terminate an application or run arbitrary code; Apple fixed the problem through improved bounds checking, it says.

The upgraded OS also fixes a similar buffer overflow problem that occurred in older versions when handling TIFF images. That has also been corrected by improvements in bounds checking, says Apple.

Older versions of the iPhone OS could allow a person with physical access to the device to get at the user’s data, due to a memory corruption issue that presented itself when handling a certain USB control message. That corruption issue allowed the pass code to be bypassed. Improved handling of the USB control message in the new release of the OS has fixed this problem, Apple says.

The company has improved parsing of FTP directory listings in version 3.1.3 to close a hole that could result in an application being terminated, access information on the device, or even running arbitrary code on the device when accessing a maliciously crafted FTP server. And a hole that could result in mail loading remote audio and video content when image-loading was disabled has also been fixed, says Apple.




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