Need to Jailbreak your iPhone? You Need GreenPoison

by Jeff Wiener on October 14, 2010

Are you an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch user? Are you interested in jailbreaking your device? If so, you’ll be happy to know it’s now easier than ever.

For those that don’t follow the ups and downs of the world of mobile jailbreaking, I’m here to tell you, it’s been a week to remember. It all started last week when the mobile world has awash with speculation that the development team (i.e. group of hackers) at Chronic-Dev was set to release its updated and much anticipated “greenpois0n” patch. But as Chronic-Dev was just about to unleash the jailbreaking program on the general public, hacker extraordinaire George Holt, known online as “GeoHot,” beat them to the punch, unveiling the “limera1n” patch one day earlier.

While many would think that this is a simple story of gaining the competitive edge, having GeoHot beat them to the punch was a blessing in disguise for both Chronic-Dev and for all those who would like to continue enjoying jailbroken Apple products for years to come.

If there’s one thing that Apple hates, its people circumventing its pointless rules and regulations. What’s the fun in being a global technology leader if people won’t follow your rules, right? Apple has always prided itself on its ability to thwart previous hacks and jailbreak programs with each new iteration of its popular iOS, which means that hackers like the Chronic-Dev team and GeoHot have always had to go back to the drawing board with each new upgrade.

But here’s the beauty of this particular situation. Both the greenpois0n and limera1n patches exploit different vulnerabilities within Apple’s iOS, essentially taking different paths towards the same goal, jailbreaking the iPhone.

With Apple’s aforementioned army of programmers commanded to close these sorts of vulnerabilities, jailbreaking patches have a limited lifespan, usually until the next iOS upgrade comes out. Having its competition undercut the release date for greenpois0n, however, has allowed Chronic-Dev to change its plan of attack, essentially giving developers time to alter greenpois0n to exploit the same vulnerability as GeoHot’s patch. Confused yet?

The reasoning behind this move is simple, why let Apple plug two vulnerabilities when you can just as easily keep one plan of attack in reserve? Holding back its original version of greenpois0n means that Apple probably won’t correct whatever vulnerability it was set to exploit, meaning that after the next iOS upgrade Chronic-Dev will already have a jailbreaking patch ready and waiting.

It’s true that jailbreaking isn’t for everyone. While it’s now legal, most manufacturers, carriers, and wireless broadband providers are looking for ways of nipping jailbreakers in the bud. But for those that want to free themselves from the controlling grasp of the likes of Apple and AT&T, the release of the greenpois0n patch earlier this week has made it easier than ever.

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