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Meet Comex, The 19-Year-Old iPhone Uber-Hacker Who Keeps Outsmarting Apple




Nicholas Allegra lives with his parents in Chappaqua, New York. The tall, shaggy-haired and bespectacled 19-year old has been on leave from Brown University since last winter, looking for an internship. And in the meantime, he’s been spending his days on a hobby that periodically sends shockwaves through the computer security world: seeking out cracks in the source code of Apple’s iPhone, a device with more software restrictions than practically any computer on the market, and exploiting them to utterly obliterate its defenses against hackers.

“It feels like editing an English paper,” Allegra says simply, his voice croaking as if he just woke up, though we’re speaking at 9:30 pm. “You just go through and look for errors. I don’t know why I seem to be so effective at it.”

To the public, Allegra has been known only by the hacker handle Comex, and keeps a low profile. (He agreed to speak after Forbes‘ poking around Twitter, Facebook and the Brown Directory revealed his name.) But in what’s becoming almost an annual summer tradition, the pseudonymous hacker has twice released a piece of code called JailBreakMe that allows millions of users to strip away in seconds the ultra-strict security measures Apple has placed on its iPhones and iPads, devices that account for more than half the company’s $100 billion in revenues.

The tool isn’t intended for theft or vandalism: It merely lets users install any application they want on their devices. But jailbreaking, as the practice is called, violates Apple’s obsessive control of its gadgets and demonstrates software holes that could be exploited later by less benevolent hackers.

Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment, but it’s not thrilled about Allegra’s work. When he released JailbreakMe 3 in July, the company rushed to patch the security opening in just nine days. Nonetheless, 1.4 million people used the tool to jailbreak their gadgets in that time, and more than 600,000 more since then. Allegra has become such a thorn in Apple’s side that its stores now block JailbreakMe.com on in-store wifi networks.

“I didn’t think anyone would be able to do what he’s done for years,” says Charlie Miller, a former network exploitation analyst for the National Security Agency who first hacked the iPhone in 2007. “Now it’s been done by some kid we had never even heard of. He’s totally blown me away.”



To appreciate JailbreakMe’s brilliance, consider how tightly Steve Jobs locks down his devices: Since 2008, Apple has implemented a safeguard called “code-signing” to prevent hackers from running any of their own commands on its mobile operating system. So even after an attacker finds a security bug that gives him access to the system, he can only exploit it by reusing commands that are already in Apple’s software, a process security researcher Dino Dai Zovi has compared to writing a ransom note out of magazine clippings.

After Allegra released JailbreakMe 2 last year, Apple upped its game another notch, randomizing the location of code in memory so that hackers can’t even locate commands to hijack them. That’s like requiring an attacker to assemble a note out of a random magazine he’s never read before, in the dark.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Update Remind Everyone

Update one more time Also, this is a good time to remind everyone (since we’re still seeing confusion about this): iPad2 owners with a baseband (3G or CDMA) cannot currently use saved blobs to go back to 4.3.3 once the signing window is closed. This is unlike every other device, so don’t be confused! iPad2 owners with basebands should stay away from all updates to maintain the jailbreak!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



Apple Starts Selling $69 OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive

Apple has started selling the OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive, intended for users without a broadband connection.


As noted by 9to5Mac, the USB thumb drive is available for sale on Apple's online store for $69.00. Apple had pre-announced that they would be selling the USB stick back in July. The USB stick offers the full OS X Lion installation without any need to download it over the internet:
OS X Lion is available on a USB thumb drive for installation without the need for a broadband Internet connection. Just plug the drive into your USB port and follow the instructions to install. OS X Lion is also available for a lower price as a digital download from the Mac App Store.
Earlier this month, Apple released a downloadable utility that would let users create a Lion recovery partition. That partition, however, still required you to download Lion from Apple's servers.

At $69.00, this USB option costs $39.01 more than the corresponding digital version through the Mac App Store. OS X Lion also remains available on the Mac App Store for $29.99.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Apple Seeds: Apple Releases New Build of 10.7.2 to Developers

Apple Seeds is iSource’s daily roundup of Apple-related stories for the most diehard of fans, or for the news junkie that has to have all of the day’s news:

Apple Releases New Build of OS X 10.7.2 and iCloud Beta 7 to Developers

Apple has released a new build of OS X 10.7.2 (Build 11C37) and the 7th beta of iCloud installer. Of course, Apple has been pushing builds of 10.7.2 to developers for iCloud testing, and Apple still hasn’t even pushed 10.7.1 to the public.

Images Have Surfaced of an Old Prototype MacBook Pro with 3G Radio

For the longest time, users have been requesting that MacBook Pros ship with a 3G radio, so that they can work even when away from Wi-Fi. Currently users have to use a 3G USB modem or a similar device to active that goal. Well, an eBay sale of a prototype 2007 15″ MacBook Pro with a built-in 3G antenna, and SIM card slot, proves that Apple has at least toyed with the idea of building 3G-ready computers. Who knows if they’ll ever send this idea into production.

Another Report Surfaces Claiming TSMC Beginning Trial Run of A6 Chips

Taiwan Economic News is reporting that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has started their trial run of Apple A6 processors to be “publicly unveiled” in the second quarter of 2012. So there’s that.

22 New Fake Apple Stores Found in China, Shut Down Soon After

It is being reported that an additional 22 fake Apple Store have been discovered in Kunming, China, and have since been shut down by Chinese authorities. This follows two fake store closings last month due to improper permits. As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber notes, 22 fake Apple stores is double the number of official Microsoft stores.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

(STM) scout for iPad shoulder bag

















Get ready for "Where'd you get that bag?" The perfect iPad or Netbook carrying solution.

*High density padding and soft felt laptop lining surrounds your digital gear
*Velcro closure over laptop section for added protection
*Secure buckle closure for main bag
*Front utility pocket for keys, pens, cords, phone, etc.
*Front slip document pocket
*New STM design shoulder pad for carrying comfort
*Holds most 11" laptops/netbooks and a perfect fit for the iPad

main fabric: 14oz water resistant canvas
lining: 210D water resistant nylon
laptop space: 7.5 x 9.6 x 0.6 in / 19 x 24.3 x 1.4 cm
external bag: 11 x 9.1 x 2 in / 28 x 23 x 5 cm
weight: 1.2 lbs / 0.5 kg




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Another iPhone 5 Mockup


Guy over Gizmodo has taken the below photo that compares between iPhone 5 and iPhone 4. The photo shows how slim is the iPhone 5. Check it out after the jump.



iOS 5.0 beta 5 released – Full changelog within


Apple has just released iOS 5.0 beta 5 to developers. It’s unknown as to whether or not beta 5 includes any UI changes, so we’ll have to wait a while for people to get their hands on it. You can view the FULL changelog below.

iOS SDK Release Notes for iOS 5.0 beta 5

Introduction

iOS SDK 5.0 provides support for developing iOS applications and includes the complete set of Xcode tools, compilers, and frameworks for creating applications for iOS and Mac OS X. These tools include the Xcode IDE and the Instruments analysis tool among many others.

With this software you can develop applications that run on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0. You can also test your applications using the included iOS Simulator, which supports iOS 5.0. There are two Xcode iOS SDK 5.0 images, one for installing on a Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.6.7 (Snow Leopard) or later, the other for installing on a Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion).

This version of iOS is intended only for installation on devices registered with Apple’s developer program. Attempting to install this version of iOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state.

For more information and additional support resources, visit:

http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/

Bug Reporting

Please report any bugs not mentioned in the “Notes and Known Issues” section using the Apple Bug Reporter on the Apple Developer website (http://developer.apple.com/bugreporter/). Additionally, you may discuss these issues and iOS SDK 5.0 in the Apple Developer Forums: http://devforums.apple.com. You can also access more information about iCloud Beta for Developers at: http://developer.apple.com/icloud

Notes and Known Issues

The following issues relate to using the 5.0 SDK to develop code.

Accounts

  • When creating an iCloud account, you can use any Apple ID as long as it is a full email address and not a MobileMe account. If you have a MobileMe account, you can move that account to iCloud. You can find more information on iCloud at: http://developer.apple.com/icloud
  • When setting up an iCloud or MobileMe account using the setup assistant and leaving Find My iPhone on, it might actually turn Find my iPhone off after the setup. Please verify in Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendar/YourAccount that Find my iPhone is toggled On after leaving the setup assistant.
  • NEW: Enabling iCloud services in Setup Assistant may not always be saved correctly. After completing Setup Assistant you should visit Settings > iCloud to verify the state of the iCloud account. If you have multiple iCloud or MobileMe accounts configured on the device you should also visit each of those accounts in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar to verify each account.
  • It is recommended that you disable Bookmarks on multiple accounts. If they are enabled, the results might be undefined.

AirPlay

  • Starting in iOS 5, video content in applications and websites are AirPlay-enabled by default.
  • iOS 5 supports AirPlay of video via AV Foundation.

Apple TV

  • Apple TV Software beta enables users to mirror the contents of an iPad 2 to an Apple TV (2nd generation) using AirPlay. This beta software also enables Photo Stream on Apple TV so users can access photos stored in iCloud. Apple TV Software beta is being provided to test the latest AirPlay functionality with your iOS 5 apps and web sites. If you wish to install Apple TV Software beta on your device, you must first register your device UDID in the iOS Developer Program Portal.

Calendar

  • Birthday calendars are not currently available via the icloud.com website or in Windows. They will be available in a future release.
  • NEW: The default calendar is still the On My iPhone calendar despite setting up an iCloud account during Setup Assistant. As a workaround, reset the default Calendar after finishing Setup Assistant in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Default Calendar.
  • NEW: Pushing iCloud Calendar data is not working in iOS. To sync your iCloud Calendar, launch the Calendar app or refresh the calendars manually using the Calendars button in the top left corner.

Core Image

GameKit

  • Match data for turn based matches is currently limited to 4 KB of data.
  • NEW: When logging in to Game Center, the password may clear and login may not complete. Trying a second time will succeed.
  • NEW: In this beta, GameKit Invites may fail. As a workaround, try restarting the device.

iBooks

  • iBooks 1.2.2 may fail to display some text or images in books. Please update to iBooks 1.3 in the App Store.

iCloud Backup

  • As this is beta software, it is recommended that you do not use the iCloud services to store any critical data or information. If you enable iCloud Backup, automatic backup with iTunes when syncing will be disabled. We also suggest that you manually back up your device with iTunes. Backups made with earlier versions of iOS 5 beta will soon become incompatible, and will no longer be available. It is strongly advised you upgrade to this version of the iOS 5 beta in order to continue backing up your devices. If you encounter errors restoring from a backup, or enabling a backup more than one hour after signing into iCloud, try deleting your iCloud account from Settings and adding it back. If errors persist, please try erasing your device and initiating the restore again.

iCloud Storage

  • During the iOS 5 beta period, any documents stored on the servers might be purged periodically before GM. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not store any critical documents or information on the servers.
  • NEW: Provisioning Profiles no longer need to be enabled for iCloud in the iOS Provisioning Portal. All newly generated provisioning profiles are now automatically enabled for iCloud. If you are using an Xcode managed Team Provisioning Profile, click refresh in the Xcode Organizer to obtain a new iCloud-enabled profile. To enable all other provisioning profiles for iCloud, simply regenerate your profiles in the iOS Provisioning Portal.
  • If your application is using the NSMetadataQuery class, you must set a predicate, even though the predicate itself is ignored.
  • In this beta, the setSortDescriptors: method of NSMetadataQuery is not supported.
  • FIXED: To use iCloud prior to beta 5, you had to manually specify various container identifiers (your application’s Display set) within an Entitlements file for both of your Mac OS X and iOS projects.Starting in beta 5, to enable iCloud storage within your apps, simply click the “Enable Entitlements” checkbox in the Summary pane of your project. Xcode will create a custom entitlements file for your project that automatically includes your Team ID. You can add additional iCloud Container values as required by your application. (Note that you must regenerate your existing provisioning profiles, either with Xcode or in the iOS Provisioning Portal, to use iCloud storage.)If you specify a custom identifier string for your iCloud Key-Value Store or iCloud Container entitlement values, you no longer need to prepend your Team ID to the beginning of the string. Xcode will prepend your Team ID to these entries automatically
  • The container identifier string you pass to the URLForUbiquityContainerIdentifier: method of NSFileManager MUST include the team ID at the beginning of the string. As a convenience, if you pass nil, Foundation uses the first document container ID specified in your app’s entitlements.
  • There are issues using the Cloud Storage document API in conjunction with protected data which can lead to data corruption.
  • FIXED: In this beta, document-based applications cannot always detect when files change, move, or are deleted out from underneath them.
  • In this beta, file presenters (objects that adopt the NSFilePresenter protocol) do not receive some of the messages that they’re supposed to receive, especially:

    You can workaround this by implementing the relinquishPresentedItemToWriter: method and checking to see if the writer actually wrote when your file presenter reacquires. You can also use FSEvents to observe file system changes

  • In this beta, messages about changes to files in a directory are not getting delivered to objects that adopt the NSFilePresenter protocol.
  • While reporting a bug related to the iCloud storage interfaces, please include the logs collected during your debugging session. To generate these logs, you must install a special debug profile on your device.The debug profile can be obtained from http://connect.apple.com. This profile enables the generation of debug logs that are needed to diagnose any problems using iCloud storage. The instructions to collect the logs are:
    1. Install the profile. (The easiest way to do this is to mail it to yourself and open the attachment on their device.)
    2. Reproduce the bug.
    3. Sync with iTunes to pull the logs off your device.
    4. Attach the logs to your bug report. You can find the logs in ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/DeviceName/DiagnosticLogs.

    These logs can grow large very quickly, so you should remove the profile after you have reproduced the problem and pulled the logs for the bug report.

  • NEW: File names are case-insensitive in OS X but case-sensitive in iOS. This can lead to problems when syncing files between the two. You should take steps on iOS to avoid creating files whose names differ only by case.

iMessage

  • iMessage beta 1 will be unable to communicate with iMessage users on beta 2 or later.

iPod

  • NEW: When using the volume buttons on the device, or on headphones, the volume slider in the UI of applications may not update even though the volume level has changed.

iTunes

  • The version of iTunes that comes with beta 5 cannot sync devices that have the beta 4 software installed. To avoid this problem, do the following:
    1. Sync any devices that have beta 4 installed to the version of iTunes that came with beta 4.
    2. Upgrade iTunes to the version that comes with beta 5.
    3. Connect the device and install the beta 5 software. (Understand that you might see a failure to sync error when you first connect the device.)
    4. After installing the beta 5 software, restore from your the backup you made in step 1.
  • Videos purchased from the iTunes Store do not play on a 2nd generation AppleTV over AirPlay with iTunes 10.5.

Location

  • FIXED: The startMonitoringSignificantLocationChanges method of CLLocationManager does not cause applications to be resumed or launched in the background for significant location change updates. However, if a backup from a previous software version (where an application was monitoring significant location changes) is restored to the device, significant location change monitoring will continue to cause that application to be resumed or launched in the background.

Mail

  • FIXED: Forwarding a message with attachments included does not attach the file and the message compose screen does not change from “Loading….”
  • NEW: When changing the host name of an email account in settings, blank messages may be seen in the unified inbox. As a workaround, delete and re-add the account instead of changing its host name.

Music Library

  • FIXED: Some songs are missing their album artwork after changing the device library via syncing.

OpenGL ES

  • FIXED: In iOS 5.0 beta 4, several OpenGL ES extensions have been moved from the APPLE namespace to the EXT namespace, causing some API to be renamed. The altered extensions are EXT_color_buffer_half_float, EXT_occlusion_query_boolean, EXT_separate_shader_objects, EXT_shadow_samplers,EXT_texture_rg, EXT_debug_label, and EXT_debug_marker.

OTA Software Update

  • If you are doing an OTA software update, you will need to re-sync your photos with iTunes.”

Personal HotSpot

  • FIXED: In this beta, iPhone 4 device cannot join personal hotspot even if it is on due to a non functional Wi-Fi tethering on these devices.

Photos

  • FIXED: If you apply red-eye adjustments in iOS, and import your image into the iPhoto seed build, the red-eye adjustments will not appear on that image in iPhoto. As a result, subsequent syncing of your image back to the iOS device from iPhoto will not show the red-eye adjustments.
  • NEW: When restoring photo libraries from an iTunes backup, some photos may not appear in the Photos application after restore. Please back up your photos before updating to iOS Beta 5.

Simulator

  • Location services are not functional in iOS 4.3 simulator running on Mac OS 10.7 with Xcode 4.2.

Springboard

  • Push and local notifications for apps appear in the new Notification Center in iOS 5. Notification Center displays notifications that are considered “unread.” In order to accommodate push and local notifications that have no “unread” status, developers can use their application badge count to trigger a clearing of notifications from Notification Center. When an application clears its badge count (by setting it to zero), iOS 5 will clear its notifications from Notification Center.
  • FIXED: iOS 5.0 terminates VoIP applications that are resumed in the background for incoming network traffic with extreme frequency. Developers are encouraged to make sure all incoming data is read from VoIP sockets to avoid this condition.
  • NEW: The UIPrerenderedIcon key (in the Info.plist file) is not honored in this build.

StoreKit

  • NEW: In-App purchase will not work for developers testing their apps with the iTunes Sandbox.

Twitter

  • FIXED: When tweeting your location from Safari and exiting before the location can be established, the location arrow will stay in the status bar. The arrow can be removed by killing Safari from the task switcher.

UI Automation

  • FIXED: Instruments overwrites the loaded automation script, even if another program is editing it.
  • FIXED: The play and record buttons in the Automation instrument script editor may not work properly after targeting an application that was launched by a trace session and has ended. They may also not work if you target an application that was suspended. If you run into this problem and it persists, you may need to close and reopen the trace document to get back into a functional state.
  • FIXED: When capturing actions into a script using the Automation instrument, interfaces with web views or table cells that contain a high number of off screen elements may take an extremely long time before returning with an expression.
  • The lock() and unlock() functions of UIATarget have been replaced with the lockForDuration() function.
  • Starting in iOS 5 beta 2, you can now trigger the execution of an UI Automation script on an iOS device from the host terminal by using the instruments tool. The command is:
    • instruments -w -t
  • When using the cli instruments for UI Automation you can now target the default Automation Template and pass the script and results path into the tool as environment variable options. For example:
    • instruments -w -t /Developer/Platforms/iPhoneOS.platform/Developer/Library/Instruments/PlugIns/AutomationInstrument.bundle/Contents/Resources/Automation.tracetemplate -e UIASCRIPT
iOS 5 Beta 5 has just been released to registered Apple developers.

iPhone 5 : the first picture !!!


Picture taken yesterday in the office of a French operator.

Believe it or not...