Apple claims jailbroken iPhones could harm cell towers

By Justin Mann on July 29, 2009, 1:49 PM
Furthering their long-standing opposition to people ‘jailbreaking’ the iPhone, Apple has made a powerful assertion that is sure to leave some people with gaping mouths. According to them, the practice could lead to massive denial of service attacks on cell towers. Apple’s claim is that people tinkering with the iPhone’s software innards could execute commands that would crash cell tower software, resulting in people being unable to make phone calls or otherwise causing havoc on local cell networks.

They draw a comparison between people jailbreaking the iPhone to someone breaking into a corporate network and damaging computers. I give credit to Apple for the iPhone, but can they truly be making such a claim with a straight face? Cell phones have been broken millions of times across multiple platforms and multiple vendors. What makes the iPhone so exceptionally dangerous that allowing people the freedom to tinker with it will result in massive service outages all over the world?

Currently, the U.S. Copyright Office is reviewing requests backed by the EFF and others to completely legalize jailbreaking. If enough people buy Apple’s rhetoric regarding this, however, such efforts could be crushed. It's clear that the company just wants to protect their bottom line, but their latest claims are preposterous at best.




User Comments: 31

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guyver1 said:

head meet wall, now smack yourself against wall repeatidly......

Speechless tbh..... utterly devoid of anything rational to retort with as its simply not worth my effort or intelligence.....

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Total BS, Apple.

guyver1 said:

I mean what next?

"Apple announce Moon Landings were fake as NASA weren't using MAC OS, therefore it would have been impossible to have landed on the moon with such inferior software!"

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.....

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Rather creative imo.

Guest said:

Sad thing is there are people who WILL believe this - if for no other reason, then because Apple can never be in the wrong... right?

Guest said:

Cell towers go down. People have calls dropped and have poor service. So a typical day with AT&T?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

oh please apple, stop the bullshit.

the sooner the iphone is opened up to third party apps without apple approval, the better. a good device ruined by its creators desperate attempts to retain control over it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'll Tell You Where You Can Put Your IPhone......

Wow, that story is almost as wildly unbelievable, as the one the US government and the drug lobby were telling you that, "you shouldn't buy the exact same drugs from Canadian sources, (at much lower prices), because the, quality couldn't be assured" !

I wonder if Apple is using the same spin doctors to try and make this manure smell like flowers.

Apple as a company has gotten to the point where somebody should slap hazardous waste stickers on their advertising and press releases.

Perhaps they could package an "Anniversary IPhone", with a gold plated nose plug!

You'll have to excuse me, I'm going to go take out a couple cell towers, calling for a pizza on my "ICrack"!.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Double handed Facepalm

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

iP0wn haz r00t on yer t0wzer!

Yeah... That's going to be a fun app in the torrents.

je29836 said:

i bet all of apple's sycophantic freakshow customers started beating off on their iphones when they heard this.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

i bet all of apple's sycophantic freakshow customers started beating off on their iphones when they heard this.
When did they ever stop?

Guest said:

You guys are all laughing your heads off, but the sad thing is there's some truth to the matter.

Jailbreaking is essentially a way to hack into the OS to free up options to you that weren't available before. What you could inadvertently be doing is causing driver instability in the iphone OS. That sort of driver instability, which is key to making phone calls with it obviously, can cause repercussions like what Apple mentioned. Not only that, but jailbreaking makes the OS more susceptible to viruses, and while this stuff has a very low chance of happening, it's still a chance.

Their claims are valid, though unlikely. Scoff all you like, but they're actually telling the truth.

Their motive however isn't to save their network and AT&T though. Obviously they want people to stop jailbreaking. What's more than likely going to happen now is they're going to start denying service to people who've jailbroken their iphones. Then when you ask them why your phone isn't working, they'll shrug their shoulders and say "apparently something is wrong with it, but we don't know what." And what that will force you to do is go into itunes and restore it to the non-jailbreak state: exactly what they want.

There's nothing we as users can do except boycott the iphone. But given how tempting the iphone is, that will be hard for many.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Jailbreaking is essentially a way to hack into the OS to free up options to you that weren't available before.
Like the kind that are available to you when you use a 3G USB / ExpressCard and a regular computer or tether your phone?

I have an iPhone. I love it. But Apple likes control and that's exactly what they are after here. Reasons for this are probably more along the lines of preventing unofficial tethering apps... thus bypassing the extra $30-40/mo it will cost to tether the iPhone when the service is released (soon).

Swashbuckling58 said:

Apple sux, Nokia rulz

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Apple Threads and Blood Pressure Medications.......Together at Last

OK, Apple is nothing but the Bang & Olufsen of the computer industry. (Hi-Fidelity Audio, very stylish) Their stuff looks great, but doesn't perform any better than other less aesthetic product.

First, they launch their "I'm a PC" slanderous ad campaign, that contained very very little in the way of truth.

Then, they cryed "foul" when M$, after what seemed like an eternity, decided to tell the truth in a retaliatory ad campaign of their own.

They ram product down your throat that you can't even change the batteries.

They overtly steal from you by releasing the Iphone at one price, then 2 weeks later say they were just kidding, and drop the price substantially. Refunds you say? I think it was only half.

So now if you crack their phone, they claim you're going to destroy the neighborhood cell towers. It sounds like the rambling of a psychotic control freak. How did Jobs discover this anyway? Don't tell me, let me guess, God told him from the middle of a burning bush.

I recall reading of an Apple product that was discovered to have been shipped with a virus. (I can't cite the source, So please, if I'm incorrect about this let me know and I'll retract it)

Now, how much more BS, deviousness, duplicity, nonsense, and overt thievery, are any of you willing to tolerate from this megalomaniac Jobs, while still continuing to give him your money?

My goodness boys and girls, hang on desperately to the last little shred of dignity, self respect, and money you have left.

If you people, (Apple customers), spend any more time on your knees in front of Mr. Jobs, your children will be born with a flat spot on their heads where he can set his drink....!

tengeta tengeta said:

KILL THE TOWERS!

kenm said:

OMG, I better get rid of my unlocked Android developers phone. I didn't know that unlocked cell phones had the power to down the whole cell network worldwide. Wait, maybe if it has that kind of power I might be able to take over the world with it, or do only Apple phones have that kind of awesomeness built in.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

unlocked Android developers phone

That's something else too... The devices Android is available on are every bit as locked down the iPhone. I never hear anyone complain though. :P

Sadly, 'locked down' and 'exclusive' sum up the U.S. cell phone industry pretty well.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

OMG, I better get rid of my unlocked Android developers phone. I didn't know that unlocked cell phones had the power to down the whole cell network worldwide. Wait, maybe if it has that kind of power I might be able to take over the world with it, or do only Apple phones have that kind of awesomeness built in.

Why don't you just bide your time until they release the "Windows 7 World Domination Edition"?

Guest said:

The truth of the matter is that by unlocking your iPhone you are making possible for space aliens to dig into your brain and control your thoughts and turn you into a space alien zombie. While the odds of the happening are not particularly high, it remains a possibility. Want proof? OK, just wait for those who have been turned into Apple zombies thru the use of their locked iPhones to begin to defend Apple's position.

bl4cksh4d0w said:

Windows Mobile phones have had no restrictions way before the IPhone came out. Not once did I personally ever hear Microsoft say they would cause havoc to the cell networks if you customized it on the system level. Which is something people have been doing for years. Or how about the fact that Android is open source, isn't anybody worried about that LOL.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The truth of the matter is that by unlocking your iPhone you are making possible for space aliens to dig into your brain and control your thoughts and turn you into a space alien zombie. While the odds of the happening are not particularly high, it remains a possibility. Want proof? OK, just wait for those who have been turned into Apple zombies thru the use of their locked iPhones to begin to defend Apple's position.

I don't reallly give a **** about the aliens. As long as I could use a Jailbroken Iphone to order a pizza, and they didn't either eat my pizza, or mug the delivery man, me and the aliens will get alone just fine.

What happens when an Icrack actually does take out a cell tower? Do you see a puff of smoke? Would it topple over? Would there be a massive explosion? Would it then be teleported back to the mother ship?

Guest said:

I was never actually trying to defend Apple's position on this matter. I simply did my homework and laid out the facts whether you like it or not. I actually know someone who was working on making one of the very first 3G phone chips and knows a thing or two about how this stuff actually works.

The point isn't that Microsoft allows customization, it's that Mac doesn't. You literally have to hack into the operating system. You're exploiting a new hole in their code every time they patch it too, and if you can get in, so can any jackoff who also knows a thing or two about writing viruses. And causing driver instability because you don't like having the default OS is going to cause even bigger problems.

I agree with you all, Apple is a terrible company. They're following the footsteps of IBM from the 1980s when they had a computer monopoly, and I strongly dislike what they're doing as much as the next guy. But that isn't going to stop me from looking at the claim and seeing what the evidence behind it is. And if someone who was working on a very similar product says it's entirely possible, then I trust him more than I trust an internet-poster who acts like they know better.

If you think it's hogwash, then figure out why and prove it to me.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The point isn't that Microsoft allows customization, it's that Mac doesn't. You literally have to hack into the operating system. You're exploiting a new hole in their code every time they patch it too, and if you can get in, so can any jackoff who also knows a thing or two about writing viruses. And causing driver instability because you don't like having the default OS is going to cause even bigger problems.

This is an oversimplification, but everybody who owns an Apple anything, is convinced that Apple viruses, and thus exploits can't and therefore don't exist.

The introduction of fear into a population is a time honored tradition in the field of propaganda.

Doesn't M$ know anything about this subject? Yet as you say, they allow customization. Can happen and will happen are two entirely different things. At least some part of the message from Apple here is, that they believe their product is so superior it can't be improved upon, and you're only allowed to have what Steve Jobs says you are, Now pass them your checkbook, please.

Guest said:

Interesting comments. I'm a PC and just recently got an iPhone. (After playing with a friend's I couldn't resist.) Anyway, I've only had to reboot this thing a couple of times in the month that I've had it. My HTC Fuze and my HTC Advantage before that had to be rebooted every other day (just like my Windows Vista machine). If Apple having control of my phone means I can continue this stability, I'm all for it. Having said that, however, those that want to be Windows like should be able go ahead and have at it, doing whatever to their phones.....

Guest said:

@cranky

Again, I absolutely agree. I think people were just taking too much of what I said at face-value. Can and will are definitely different things, and you're right, Apple's message is pretty clear in terms of their mindset of superiority. But people keep knocking the claim they've made as being impossible, and I'm trying to get across that it IS possible and that they're not lying.

Guest said:

Wouldn't this mean that Apple is providing support to terrorist?

I think we should ban all I-phones because they can take down our wireless phone infrastructure. :-)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wouldn't this mean that Apple is providing support to terrorist?

I think we should ban all I-phones because they can take down our wireless phone infrastructure. :-)

Several years Ago, The Apple G-3, (or maybe G-4), desktop was classified as a weapon by the US government. This because it's computing power, it was felt, could be adapted to weapons guidance application. It's export was banned. I guess the US thought the machine could be "jail broken"!

Apple being the opportunistic and avaricious organization that it is, used this as a platform for an extensive ad campaign, He' ya folks, git your weapons grade personal computers here! You'd almost think they though it was funny then.

So why aren't they laughing now?

fimbles fimbles said:

Was it not apple (woz) who invented the famous blue box phone hacking hardware back in the 70s ?

Oh how times have changed.

1 person liked this | SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Nice job bringing back a thread that is 2.5 years old.

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