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Hackers claim iPhone 2.0 breakthrough

The beta version of Apple's 2.0 software has already been compromised by the iPhone Dev Team, they claim, allowing unofficial iPhone applications to live on after the formal release of the SDK.

It hasn't even been released yet, but iPhone hackers claim to have already figured out a way to jailbreak Apple's iPhone 2.0 software.

The iPhone Dev Team said yesterday (thanks, Gizmodo) it has figured out a way to hack into the iPhone's bootloader by taking advantage of the way the iPhone authorizes code that can be written to memory. After some modifications, this apparently allows any code to be written to the iPhone, such as applications that haven't been authorized by Apple, and it should work with any new software version Apple releases, according to the team.

It seems the iPhone hacking community has already found a way to get unofficial applications on the iPhone 2.0 software. iPhone Dev Team

The team released a screenshot of what is supposedly an iPhone running external applications on the beta 2.0 software, which can be obtained by downloading the iPhone SDK. It's hard to tell exactly which version is shown in the screenshot, although the inclusion of the App Store is a pretty big hint. Still, Adobe sells a lot of copies of Photoshop for a reason.

Unlike previous hacks, this one isn't specific to the latest firmware version, it exploits the way that Apple designed the iPhone's main bootloader. According to the iPhone Dev Team, the iPhone verifies whether or not firmware code has been signed with an RSA certificate before allowing it to be written to memory. The team has apparently figured out a way to disable that check and allow unsigned code to be written to memory. A detailed explanation of the exploit can be found here.

The hacking community believes this jailbreaking method (which will also let you unlock your iPhone) can't be fixed by Apple in a production version of the 2.0 software. Even though Apple has released the SDK, it seems pretty likely that hacking will continue as long as the company maintains its one-carrier, one-country policy and if Apple chooses to exclude lots of third-party applications that conflict with its goals.