Apple claims jailbreaking will destroy cell towers

Summary:It's good to know not every scare tactic from the Bush Administration has been eradicated. Things like companies yelling "terrorism" to protect their bottom lines are still in good stead.

It's good to know not every scare tactic from the Bush Administration has been eradicated. Things like companies yelling "terrorism" to protect their bottom lines are still in good stead. Everyone who still gets warm fuzzies when they think of Steve Jobs should take a good long read of David Kravets' report in Wired over Apple's comments (PDF) responding to an EFF proposal to legalize jailbreaking the iPhone.

(By tinkering with the iPhone's baseboard processor code), a local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data. Taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer — to potentially catastrophic result.

The technological protection measures were designed into the iPhone precisely to prevent these kinds of pernicious activities, and if granted, the jailbreaking exemption would open the door to them.

Kravets has the right response to this Cheney-like position:

We’re gratified that Apple locked down this potential weapon of mass disruption before hackers could unleash cybarmageddon. This also explains why Apple rejected the official Google Voice App for the iPhone this week. We thought it was because Google Voice posed a threat to AT&T’s exclusivity deal with Apple. Now we know it threatened national security.

The fact that the rest of Apple's comments trot out copyright protection and the like should tell you where Apple's real interests in this battle lay.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Security, Smartphones

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