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  1.    #1  
    Apple Patent Targets iPhone Thieves, Jailbreakers Too?
    ARTICLE DATE: 08.21.10
    By David Murphy

    Apple Patent Targets iPhone Thieves, Jailbreakers Too?

    An iPhone jailbreak might be considered fair use for owners of the device, but that doesn't mean that Apple is about to quietly go along with the concept of a third-party unlock of its iOS 4 mobile operating system. A recently revealed patent application from Apple—filed in February 2009, but posted two days ago—casts a wide, technological net against would-be device thieves and jailbreakers... possibly both.

    The patent's called, "Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device" and, indeed, that's the aim of the various countermeasures detailed in the filing. However, Apple first goes to lengths to describe the process by which a device would be able to self-identify that it's been compromised by an unknown party.

    While this can occur by matching the identity of the phone's user to a predetermined list of authorized device users—including comparing a picture of a user's face to a user database or a recording of one's voice-- it can also involve scanning for the following functions to occur: "hacking the electronic device, jailbreaking the electronic device, unlocking the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, and moving at least a predetermined distance away from a synced device."

    If an Apple device—like an iPhone—should notice any of this activity taking place, it can deliver a variety of responses. Apple's proposing to allow the device to take keylogs, screenshots, and other records of communications between it and a cell carrier or host computer. As well, the device could respond with a physical, on-screen notification that it's been compromised in some fashion.

    The bomb hits later in Apple's patent—at least, for those currently jailbreaking their phones. Apple would allow a compromised device to begin limiting features in response to unauthorized access or activity, and it would even be allowed to go as far as to delete all of the "sensitive data" on said device—it's unclear whether this is just restricted to settings and password-type information, or the entirety of a phone's contents.

    While these kinds of features might be welcome for enterprise uses of Apple's devices, it remains to be seen just how a jailbroken iPhone might work in the hands of its actual owner. After all, if a jailbroken iPhone is indicative of an unauthorized user, what would happen if the actual owner of the phone—in jailbreaking his or her device—is able to supply credentials to prove ownership?

    Would the device still permit a jailbreak? Would it explode in one's hand? It might be a little too early in the patent process to decree that Apple is going to start remote-wiping jailbroken iPhones, but the company nevertheless has third-party modifications actively on its mind: be they to protect iPhone owner or otherwise.

    Copyright (c) 2010Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    How is that different from Microsoft detecting hacked XBoxes and banning people from XBox Live?
    Last edited by ToniCipriani; 08/21/2010 at 10:03 PM.
    Palm IIIc -> Sony CLIÉ T650C -> Sony TJ-37 -> Palm TX -> Palm Centro -> Palm Pre Bell -> Palm Pre Plus Bell/Verizon Hybrid -> HP Veer -> HP Pre 3 NA -> BlackBerry Classic -> BlackBerry Priv

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  3. #3  
    One of the main reasons that made me choose Palm is that I don't have to worry about the cat-and-mouse jailbreaking-patching crap. It's linux, it has terminal, and it works, and it's cheap, that's what I care about.

    Frankly, the iPhone hardware is vastly superior to that of the Palm Pre. But if I had went with the iPhone, I wouldn't have had a rock solid trouble-free experience every time I do a upgrade on my phone. Heck, paying hundreds of dollars and still having to jailbreak again for every point-upgrade, and be considered a 'criminal', it's like the best way to spend anyone's money.

    And now if someone jailbreaks his own phone, he will also have a chance of bricking it for forever and be banned. Good news everyone, good news.
  4. #4  
    Rahulsood

    RT @engadget Apple attempts to patent kill switch that roots out unauthorized users, detects jailbreaks Apple attempts to patent kill switch that roots out unauthorized users, detects jailbreaks -- Engadget // #Badmove

    THIS GUY ROCKS.
    Calling out latest Appl control tactics....#badmove
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by ToniCipriani View Post
    How is that different from Microsoft detecting hacked XBoxes and banning people from XBox Live?
    Because 99% of the people who "flash" their xBox just do it to play pirated games.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by iTz Nicholas72 View Post
    Because 99% of the people who "flash" their xBox just do it to play pirated games.
    ...and iPad/iPhone owners do it to get access to Installous?
    Palm IIIc -> Sony CLIÉ T650C -> Sony TJ-37 -> Palm TX -> Palm Centro -> Palm Pre Bell -> Palm Pre Plus Bell/Verizon Hybrid -> HP Veer -> HP Pre 3 NA -> BlackBerry Classic -> BlackBerry Priv

    It's a Late Goodbye, such a Late Goodbye.

    Need OEM Palm Pre parts? See here
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by ToniCipriani View Post
    ...and iPad/iPhone owners do it to get access to Installous?
    Some do, some do it to change the stale theme the iPhone comes with, to have greater access to settings (SBsettings, but it's probably been eclipsed by something greater in the last year since I've touched iPhoneOS), to apps that Apple will not allow in the app catalog or have kicked out (Grooveshark, bb, also lscrobbling via Scrobblr), to the version of multitasking that existed before Apple got off its *** (Backgrounder)....basically a lot of the stuff we use homebrew for on webOS.
    screwdestiny
    PSNTwitterLast.FM
  8. #8  
    Oh, really this sucks. I thought there was some law that made jail breaking legal. I'm assuming this applies to iPads too. I have an iPad and would love to jailbreak it, but since I'm on iOS 3.2.2 I can't. From what I'm hearing, I may never be able to.
    I own a Verizon Palm Pre 2 running WebOS 2.0.1

    Here to help and learn
  9. #9  
    This is a tough one really. My response generally is that if you want to use an iPhone or iPad then you are making a consumer decision to enter a closed system and therefore should accept those rules. There are plenty of alternatives that are open systems that are available.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by AbidingDude View Post
    One of the main reasons that made me choose Palm is that I don't have to worry about the cat-and-mouse jailbreaking-patching crap. It's linux, it has terminal, and it works, and it's cheap, that's what I care about.
    But the highlight of the Pre was the cat-and-mouse 'crap' Palm played with Apple's iTunes interface. Now there's a company with the user experience at the forefront of its policies - a company that wastes its own software development resources by leeching off the proprietary software of another company.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by SmoothCriminal View Post
    Oh, really this sucks. I thought there was some law that made jail breaking legal. I'm assuming this applies to iPads too. I have an iPad and would love to jailbreak it, but since I'm on iOS 3.2.2 I can't. From what I'm hearing, I may never be able to.
    Jailbreaking is no longer considered "illegal", however it is still - and I'm sure always will be - against Apple's policies. So jailbreaking can still void your warranty, and they can still claim that a jailbroken iPhone is an unwelcome iPhone, and they can still try to break the Jailbreak with every update... They just can't threaten you with actual jail anymore. haha

    As to the pirated Apps question, there are always going to be unscrupulous people out there on any platform, but it's unfair to say that it's the only reason people Jailbreak.

    I know a few people with Jailbroken iPhones, and none of them use Installous.
    Follow me on teh Twitterz
  12.    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by AbidingDude View Post
    One of the main reasons that made me choose Palm is that I don't have to worry about the cat-and-mouse jailbreaking-patching crap. It's linux, it has terminal, and it works, and it's cheap, that's what I care about.

    Frankly, the iPhone hardware is vastly superior to that of the Palm Pre. But if I had went with the iPhone, I wouldn't have had a rock solid trouble-free experience every time I do a upgrade on my phone. Heck, paying hundreds of dollars and still having to jailbreak again for every point-upgrade, and be considered a 'criminal', it's like the best way to spend anyone's money.

    And now if someone jailbreaks his own phone, he will also have a chance of bricking it for forever and be banned. Good news everyone, good news.
    hi all,

    I agree additionally, Steve Jobs doesn't play well with others...he has to have his way all of the time, or he takes his toys and goes home.

    Take care,


    Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  13.    #13  
    Hi all,

    Here is an update...I question if Apple can legally do this, as well as,if doing so would be so damaging to their customer base that they should do it.

    Take care,

    Jay


    Apple would use voice, facial recognition as part of iPhone 'kill switch'
    By Suzanne Choney

    Technolog - Apple would use voice, facial recognition as part of iPhone 'kill switch'

    In a move that seems Big Brother-ish, Apple has a patent in the works that could use voice and facial recognition technology to activate a "kill switch" on its popular iPhone, shutting it down when hackers "jailbreak" or unlock the phone to install unauthorized programs on it, or try to steal information from an unsuspecting iPhone user.

    Apple would track "suspicious behavior," the company said, including comparing the "identity of the current user to the identity of the owner of the electronic device," then notify the legal owner of the iPhone about the possible hack.

    Marc Rotenberg, Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director, expressed concerns about potential abuses of such a system. "But more to the point, companies that sell products to consumers should not be able to enforce their views as to what constitutes 'unauthorized use' post sale," he said. "Users should be able to control the use of their products, and that includes jailbreaking iPhones if they wish."

    Lee Tien, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agreed. "The stuff in the patent that has to do with jailbreaking is an obvious concern, because that’s completely legal behavior – it’s not like theft." And while it is still early in the patent process, Tien said, there are some "scary" issues around the technology, including where data collected by Apple would stored, and who would have access to it.

    "Hopefully this would be entirely up to the consumer or user of the device whether or not they were going to buy into it at all," Tien said.

    When asked about the patent, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

    Both Tien and Rotenberg said Apple's actions could result in cases similar to what happened in a suburban Philadelphia school district, where tens of thousands of webcam photographs and screen shots on laptops issued to students were secretly snapped by the district.

    Officials with the Lower Merion School District officials said the remote tracking system was activated to try to find laptops that had been reported lost or stolen. But the district admitted that the tracking system remained "on" for weeks or months, even after a laptop was found, and wound up taking 56,000 webcam photographs and screen shots from student laptops. So far, at least one student is suing the district over photos taken of him sleeping, as well as on instant messaging and video chats.

    Apple's patent, "Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device," was filed in February 2009, but published Aug. 19 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The "kill switch" would be part of a processor that Apple would create.

    The company's patent includes some "1984"-ish ways in which it would find iPhone scofflaws. In some cases, Apple said, "a photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user's voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of the above.

    "The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording, or heartbeat of authorized users of the electronic device to determine whether they match. If they do not match, the current user can be detected as an unauthorized user."

    The ways a registered owner uses the iPhone and where it's used could also be obtained, Apple said. "For example, information such as the current's user's photograph, a voice recording of the current user, screenshots of the electronic device, keylogs of electronic device, communication packets (e.g., Internet packets) served to the electronic device, location coordinates of the electronic device, or geotagged photos of the surrounding area can be gathered."

    "Unauthorized users" could be detected, the company said, by monitoring "activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device."

    Apple is proposing that when an "unauthorized user is detected, various functions of the electronic device can be restricted. For example, access to particular applications can be restricted, access to sensitive information can be restricted, sensitive information can be erased from the electronic device."

    The company would then e-mail, text message or leave a voice mail for the legal owner of the iPhone to provide notification about an "unauthorized user."

    Jailbreaking the iPhone has been an issue since the first model came out in 2007, although it's mainly limited to those who are technically savvy and are willing to void phone's warranty by doing so.

    The problem of hackers looking to steal information is more recent; Apple released a software patch earlier this month to block hackers from gaining access to any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running the latest versions of their mobile operating system after security hole was discovered.

    "Just because Apple could shut down your iPhone if it’s 'jailbroken' doesn’t mean Apple is trying to seize control of your digital life," wrote Brian Caulfield of Forbes. "In fact, if you want to keep control of it, you might actually want Apple to step in."

    Said Tien of EFF: "Let’s wait and see; it's early still with Apple's patent application. But there really are some serious concerns here."
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  14. #14  
    Unlikely. As the article was saying, there are a lot of privacy and legal concerns. If they do that, they are essentially storing biometric data. A single company storing its own staff's biometric data is already very restrictive, let alone clients'.
    Palm IIIc -> Sony CLIÉ T650C -> Sony TJ-37 -> Palm TX -> Palm Centro -> Palm Pre Bell -> Palm Pre Plus Bell/Verizon Hybrid -> HP Veer -> HP Pre 3 NA -> BlackBerry Classic -> BlackBerry Priv

    It's a Late Goodbye, such a Late Goodbye.

    Need OEM Palm Pre parts? See here

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