Is Apple banning iPhone hackers from the iTunes App Store?

Tue, Feb 16, 2010


For a company founded by 2 individuals who did their fair share of hacking, or phreaking to be more precise, Apple doesn’t take too kindly to iPhone jailbreakers. Like clockwork, every iPhone OS update seems to throw another monkey wrench into the efforts of jailbreakers, with many updates actually bricking the jailbroken phones themselves.

Now it appears that Apple has taken things a step further.

Apple has reportedly started banning iPhone hackers from the iTunes App Store. Recently, iPhone developer and hacker Sherif Hashim, who just a few days ago found a working exploit and sent it to the iPhone Dev-Team, tried to access the App Store and was surprised to see a message pop up on his iPhone saying that his Apple ID had been disabled for security reasons.

Meanwhile, another hacker who goes by the name of iH8sn0w, and whose Sn0wbreeze exploit is capable of unlocking every iPhone model to date,¬†also received the same message when trying to access the App Store from his iPhone. (Note:¬†iH8sn0w tweeted a few hours ago that he didn’t care about the error message because his personal iTunes account was unaffected)

So what exactly is going on here? Is Apple taking their anti-jailbreaking crusade to a whole another level by targeting prominent iPhone hackers? We’d like to think that’s not the case, and that they’re not making things personal, so to speak. But clearly, something has changed behind the scenes because iH8sn0w’s exploit wasn’t publicly documented and was only shared the the iPhone Dev Team.

Gizmodo postulates that Apple isn’t necessarily targeting specific individuals, but rather that Apple instituted certain safeguards to monitor unusual iPhone or App Store activity typically associated with iPhone hacks, thereby explaining the aforementioned error message.

This, of course, is nothing more than idle speculation, but assuming it’s true, we would hope that individual jailbreakers, the vast majority of whom aren’t actively looking for and publishing exploits, won’t be affected by what may be Apple’s new strategy in the war against iPhone hacking. Besides, with Steve Jobs all set to begin work on his first authorized biography, you’d like to think that nostalgic memories of his hacking and phreaking days with Woz back in the early of days Silicon Valley might soften him up a bit.

via Redmond Pie


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Justin Freid Says:

    This is a long time in the making. Qik ceased development on a version of their app for jailbroken phones since they thought such development would limit their chances of an eventual approval on the official App Store.
    Section 8b of the Terms and Conditions for the App Store disallows, amongst other things, reverse-engineering which might be cause, in Apple legal’s view, to disable these developer’s IDs.

  2. regularg0nz0 Says:

    This really annoys me as it bring up the possibility that Apple could “throw the switch” and ban all id’s using jaibroken phones. I haven’t jailbroken mine to date, but I was about to due to the fact that I’m about to take a trip, and the place I’m staying won’t have Internet Access, and I need to tether.

    This wouldn’t be an issue for me if we had the tethering plan AT&T promised us OVER A YEAR AGO. Apple’s been pretty quick to bring their promises to market, but the AT&T side of this equation brings back bad memories of the final years of Atari computers, when products would be announced, and then still not to market 18 months later.

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