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28 September 2007, 13:06

Apple update takes down tweaked iPhones

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As announced at the beginning of the week, Apple has released a firmware update for its iPhone mobile to add access to the iTunes WiFi Music Store, among other things. But the announcement also contained a warning to that manipulated iPhones might be rendered useless when the updates are installed. Now, users are indeed reporting on the Internet (for example, at or at that although they were able to install update 1.1.1 on their tweaked Apple telephones, they encountered problems once the devices were rebooted.

If, for example, the update is installed on an iPhone unlocked with the anySIM software, a message reading "SIM card not supported" appears after rebooting. At that point, access to menus and basic functions is reportedly no longer possible, even if the original AT&T SIM card is reinserted. Some affected users are calling the iPhone an "iBrick", as Wired writes. If the users have implemented a "jailbreak" procedure to get access to their iPhone's file system, the update also deletes or at least blocks any third-party programs that have been installed.

The iPhone update contains iTunes 7.4.3 (which also solves activation problems for the iPod Touch in various European countries) and closes a number of security holes. For instance, attackers were able to cause applications on the iPhone to crash or inject external code via Bluetooth. The e-mail program does not warn users if they are retrieving e-mails via SSL-encrypted connections and the identity of the server changes; such an event would allow for a man-in-the-middle attack, in which attackers can listen in on e-mail communication without being noticed. Furthermore, tel: links in e-mails can apparently cause telephone numbers to be dialed without prompting the user first.

In the Safari Web browser, Apple has closed a number of cross-site-scripting holes that attackers could exploit to steal information or change websites – even HTTPS sites – by means of manipulated websites. After the update, the browser has no longer to be restarted to complete the activation or deactivation of JavaScript. The update remedies some critical flaws, so iPhone owners are advised to install it as quickly as possible – if possible.

AT&T has exclusive sales rights to the iPhone in the US. Apple gets a share of the revenue that the mobile communications operator generates with the devices. In its press release on Monday, Apple pointed out that iPhone users who have made unauthorized modifications to their unit's software have violated the software license agreement, resulting in the revoking of the warranty. iPhone hackers then announced that they would be releasing software that would reset hacked iPhones with original settings. In addition, the hackers say they are going to develop their unlocking software further on the basis of this recent Apple update.


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