Hackers jailbreak RIM's PlayBook

TORONTO Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:31pm EST

A woman holds the a RIM PlayBook in Toronto, April 19, 2011.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A woman holds the a RIM PlayBook in Toronto, April 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Three hackers say they have exploited a vulnerability in Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet to gain root access to the device, a claim that could damage the BlackBerry maker's hard-won reputation for security.

Root access means a user has permission to alter any file or program on a device and can control hardware functions.

In a response to queries, RIM said it is investigating the claim, and if a "jailbreak" is confirmed will release a patch to plug the hole.

The three hackers - who identify themselves as xpvqs, neuralic and Chris Wade - plan to release their data within a week as a tool called DingleBerry.

Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems are frequently attacked by users who want to run programs that have not been authorized by the manufacturers, but breaches of RIM's software are more rare.

The PlayBook runs on a different operating system than RIM's current BlackBerry smartphones. However, the QNX system will be incorporated into its smartphones starting next year.

The PlayBook in July became the first tablet device to win a security certification approving it for U.S. government use.

In a video posted on YouTube, Wade shows the DingleBerry tool allowing the PlayBook to access the Internet video service Hulu, which is not currently available on RIM's tablet.

Hulu, a service from Comcast's NBC Universal, News Corp's Fox and Walt Disney Co's ABC, blocks all mobile browsers by default and has yet to offer an app for the PlayBook.

A second video showed neuralic typing commands into a computer to turn the PlayBook's LED indicators on and off.

A source told Reuters that RIM had previously closed a PlayBook vulnerability that allowed a pre-loaded racing game to force a user to watch an introductory video.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson)

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Comments (4)
Sandman366 wrote:
Proof that if it exists, it can be hacked. Yeah, it might be nice to have a “secure” device, but if it exists, there is a way to hack it.

Makes me wonder why jailbreak/rooting can’t be done by spoofing an OTA update to the device and instead of giving a new OS version, “borrow” the current one, root/jailbreak it, then give it that as the “new version”.

Nov 30, 2011 12:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
YoYoMaMa wrote:
“Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are frequently attacked by users who want to run programs that have not been authorized by the manufacturers, but breaches of RIM’s software are more rare.”

Ridiculous use of the word “attacked”. If by attacking you mean being able to compile a program that I write and run that on a device that I own and have paid for then yes, I am attacking it.

Nov 30, 2011 1:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Agree with Yoyomama, it’s not being hacked, in our blackberry world it’s called a crack. (see crackberry.com) Love the product it’s a stable and more for business. When people get gauged for over rated apps. then by all means I can write a mobile app. and crack it.
Mobile developers have done it with the iphone so this news is really over rated.

Nov 30, 2011 5:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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