Will iPhone be a victim of it’s own success?

July 3, 2007

So the iPhone has been launched, over 500,000 handsets sold in the first weekend, massive buzz in the blogosphere and in traditional media and reviews coming in thick and fast.

It still looks great! The interface is brilliant and I can’t wait to try one in the flesh when they make it to the UK. But has the massive hype and publicity it’s generated put it at risk of falling foul of the inevitable experimental attacks from hackers?

Being so high profile has made the iPhone the device that hackers want to get under the skin of. Various reports have been coming out of people breaking them open to find out what’s under the hood and trying out various attacks to breach the security. People have been trying to break the protection that stops 3rd party software being used for example.

So, it’s no surprise that hackers have already cracked and published two passwords. One is the password to give an application root access, the other allows mobile access. Both are fundamental to the security of an iPhone and also potentially fundamental to Apples revenue models…

As of yet, those passwords do not have a specific use, but if somebody finds a service which allows a hacker to access the phone and gain root access then that will be a different story. A story which has the potential to damage the reputation and momentum behind the iPhone.

If someone does prove they can gain root access then surely Apple will have to start releasing patches. To do so this soon after launch would not be good for their reputation at all. And how far would the cracking have to go before iPhones required a mod to make them secure? That would be disastrous.

So, in the next week or so I’d expect to see the digital rights management features compromised, third party software downloads springing up and phones being unlocked for use on other networks.

I’m sure the iPhone will still be a success and with so much hype this was bound to happen, but I’m pretty glad that I won’t get one until the vulnerabilities have been fixed (and 3G is added).

All that said though, if any other smartphone (Nokia, Windows, HTC etc) had generated so much buzz and been put through the same level of hacking and cracking I’m certain the results would be comparable.

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One Response to “Will iPhone be a victim of it’s own success?”

  1. mark Says:

    It’s no big deal. Joe public just wants something to work, not to hack. Apple will update the os on a regular basis through iTunes to keep ahead of any security problems – it’s why it’s tethered to ‘Tunes in the first place.
    As for being a ‘victim’ of success, I don’t buy it. That it can be hacked by a dedicated few will only increase it’s desirability. I also think Apple will quickly close down various services so that they are only available thro’ the carrier(whoever that may be in the uk) and make it less attractive to hacking. Remember when iTunes could be used for file sharing on a network – they closed that one quite quickly and no-one has cracked it since as far as I remember….again probably because it’s no trivial task and it works well enough anyway.


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