My son Nathan called this morning with news he was the first to find a way into the file system of the new iPhone release 1.1.1. So it is a proud day for an old hacker. I wish I could say I taught him every thing he knows. :-) This is such big news it even made it to the top ten list of Digg. (Nathan is Edgan).
Nathan has been obsessed with cracking the iPhone since he purchased on. By cracking I mean being able to run programs of your choice on the phone. Apple encrypts the programs loaded on the iPhone making it every virtually impossible to modify the phone's software. Hackers quickly found a way into version 1.0 of the iPhone. But after Apple released their first update (versions 1.1.1) everyone was again locked out.
Nathan has been calling me to talk about possible ways to crack the iPhone for days. Mostly about encryption methods and how they are used and might be misused on the iPhone. Its always the simple mistakes that get your. Nathan told me after reviewing the old (1.0) code he thought about how a sym link was being used and wondered if the same link in the new version might grant access to the file system. He passed this idea to a friend he was working with in group he was working with. He said they where all surprised when it worked.
I have cracked many thing myself. Most notable a Lotus 1-2-3 hack that let people run the software as long as they didn't put the original disk in the system. Lotus 1-2-3 used a form of copy protection (Softguard?). With a debug, in about 20 minutes time, I cracked this protection by finding what I called the "the magic jump" and reversing the logic.