Apple locking out modded Apple TVs?

Apple locking out modded Apple TVs?

Summary: Since the first day the Apple TV began shipping anxious users started hacking the boxes to allow playback of Xvid files (as an example).Yesterday a story appeared on Tutorial Ninjas suggesting that Apple may be locking down modded Apple TVs over the Internet.


Apple TV = hackedSince the first day the Apple TV began shipping anxious users started hacking the boxes to allow playback of Xvid files (as an example).

Yesterday a story appeared on Tutorial Ninjas suggesting that Apple may be locking down modded Apple TVs over the Internet. In the posting the Ninjas claim to have had their SSH/VNC disabled overnight is some sort of a software update from Apple. They're recommending that users with modded hardware a) change the password, and b) deny Internet access to it.

Such a move wouldn't be unprecedented in the industry, modded Xboxes routinely get black-listed from Xbox live and malware masquerading as a firmware upgrade has been known to "brick" PSPs. But I tend to agree with Rob Parker who said on Episode 37 of the PowerPage Podcast (which taped last night) that it didn't sound like something Apple would do.

Some have suggested that Apple TV may just "repair" its software (similar to what XP does) and state that there's really no proof that Apple did it (user error?). Other are irked that Apple appears to be performing software updates to the box without asking the user for permission.

Where do you stand on this one?

Topic: Apple

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  • I think it is hillarious that anyone would ...

    ... even suggest that this doesn't sound like something Apple would. How soon they forget about iTunes reporting back on the user's listening habits without asking permission. The Cult of the Mac has a rude awakening coming. From sueing reporters to find their sources to stock option pre-dating Apple plays hard ball. This sounds exactly like something they would do!
    • Really? Did you loose your hat?

      So Apple back doored his firewall logged in and altered his system all because he was hacking it? LOL... wow dude... put your tin foil hat back on. How about a cron job to fix permissions (like the ones that run on OSX) ran? I think that may be a LOT more plausible.
      • Have you got something intelligent to add ....

        ...or is your sophmoric post the best you can muster? I made no judgement on how they did it only that it is consistent with what they have done in the past. Run along now your mommy is calling you.
        • No really...

          He's right. Locking you out of your system if it's not legit sounds like something
          Microsoft would do. (And it is.) It's not like the Apple TV is being rendered useless,
          it just gets "reset". I'm sure that if Apple could incorporate these features without
          "seamless integration" hurdles or legal barriers, the Apple TV would fully support
          them, if there was enough demand for them. I'm willing to bet that the general
          public is just fine and happy with the Apple TV's "out-of-the-box" functionality. The
          general public IS Apple's demographic target, not the uber geeks looking to mod
          everything they get their greasy monkey hands on.
    • Oh come on. .

      There's a world of difference. Logging in and modifying someone's system is actually illegal in several jurisdictions and would be a pretty dumb thing to do. I'm sure there are hackers out there who would love to believe that Apple are involved in a covert war against them, but they should really just check their egos.

      The sad thing is that people questioned this withing minutes of the original poster, but that wasn't enough to stop it making 'news' on several other sites - including zdnet - perhaps because it's the kind of story people want to believe.

      As for iTunes reporting back on what you were listening to . . the sad truth is that it actually connected to a web service that used your current track to make Amazon style recommendations, with (they say) no logging of any user specific details.

      And yes, of course they have your IP address, and yes, who knows what else it might have sent up the wire, but you know what - I reckon that's all it was. They're not using it to track people listening to the speeches of Kropotkin.

      Hell, they don't even keep a database of what you BUY on iTunes music store - as anyone who has lost their files can attest - let alone what you listen to.

      Was it an error shipping the feature turned on - well, it was a PR disaster, and shows you how loud a voice activists have these days - it's just ironic that a piece of adware got more attention than a lot of the real erosions in our freedoms.

      As for Apple legal - yep, they do play hardball. Now let's think on that. So far there have been no requests from Apple legal to take down any information relating to hacking the AppleTV.

      But I shall leave you believing there is a crack team of Apple black hat operatives scanning the internet to find rogue AppleTVs, cracking customers firewalls, undoing the users modifications, and leaving without a trace.
      • You just can't handle the truth!(nt)

        Here you are defending Apple without knowing what is occurring. Do you own an AppleTV and have you modded it? Did I comment in any way how it was being done? Where did you come up with "But I shall leave you believing there is a crack team of Apple black hat operatives scanning the internet to find rogue AppleTVs, cracking customers firewalls, undoing the users modifications, and leaving without a trace. "?

        How do you know they don't keep a database for what you bought from iTunes? Just because they want to sell it to you over again does not mean they don't know what you bought.
  • Tivo has similar things also...

    Unless you take special measure, Tivo software updates that may overwrite your changes.
  • Seems folks have a short memory

    Remember when Apple kept updating its firmware/software to deny RealNetworks access to its iPod?

    Or when AIM kept shutting out Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger?

    Companies do this all the time, as noted in the story about modded XBoxes. No one should be surprised.
    Confused by religion
    • nooooo

      Not Apple... they are your friend!

      Only the eeeeeevil folks at MS would do such a thing!

      (sarcasm included free of charge)
      • I'll spring for the wit if you can include some in future posts

        • What is the price of wit these days anyway?

          Obviously, from that attempt... you can't afford it either.

          Have a nice day.
  • nvram

    Nvram reset the Apple TV after it has been reset 9 times
  • It's called "Factory Restore"

    Like many pieces of consumer electronics that are computer-based, there is a
    factory restore image on the disk drive. This can be manually re-installed, or if
    the system detects a problem (such as not starting the Apple TV GUI after a few
    boots), the restore can be done automatically.
    Just zis guy, see
    • Not every manufacturer

      Netgear didn't have a factory image in thier 624 routers so that the two routers that hung while being firmware upgraded had to be replaced. Sometimes the obvious is not, even to those who should know better.
  • What me crash my machine?

    It is funny that someone experimenting with and hacking their Apple TV would blame
    Apple for it failing to operate later. Is it just me? I have ALWAYS assumed that
    anytime I experiment/hack any of my software that I may render it useless. That is
    part of the challenge, is it not?

    Call me crazy...
  • Irked Apple wouldn't ask permission to restore?

    The hypocracy of that is hillarious. So however buys an Apple TV and hack it and exposes copyrighted material without asking "permission", but users would be "irked" that Apple might restore the software to keep it in line with the terms of service of Apple TV?

    I have ZERO sympathy for these types of whiners.
  • Good...

    Apple routinely updates its software. Hackers generally do work arounds, but thats what 'work arounds' really mean...

    It is hard work being a 'pirate' huh, Mr. Sparrow?
  • Also...

    I'm sure there are legal reasons as to why Apple has to do this. Remember, nearly
    everything Apple does with iTunes is based on contracts with and conditions set by
    the movie/music industry. This whole thing could be a legal requirement of their
  • Paranoia runs deep

    I think that there are certain individuals here who will believe anything negative
    about Apple. Others never will. Both of you are wrong. Someone reports that their
    hack has stopped working overnight. Some leap to the conclusion, because of their
    paranoia about Apple, that they must be reaching out and turning of hacks. That's
    sheer paranoia, and it's interesting that individuals like ShadeTree are so vociferous
    about it. There are a number of possibilities for what happened here. When they can
    document that this is a deliberate decision by Apple to mod their boxes back, then
    I'll be interested. Otherwise, it's just paranoid logic.
    • To be clear ...

      ... I never stated that it did or did not happen. What I stated was that it was ridiculous to automatically assume they didn't. Now go back and read my posts and tell me where I did. It seems you suffer from the inability to read and comprehend.