Liberated iPhone

I’ve been so used to my jailbroken iPhone that I often take things for granted. Jailbroken you say? Well amongst normal people a “jailbreak” conjures images of criminals escaping prison perhaps by digging a tunnel or by subduing the guards as they deliver their meal and sneaking away the key.

But in the Kingdom of Apple the term “jailbreak” is a much-adored euphemism for hacking the protection Apple keeps on the iPhone to prevent unauthorized apps from being placed on the phone.

One of the main uses people have for jailbreaking is to use SSH or iPhone Explorer or a similar tool to copy files onto their device. I usually use this to move manga from my harddrive onto my iPhone for reading on the go.

So today I was about to transfer from Magister Negima chapters (a Harry Potter-esque manga) onto my iPhone using SSH, and was surprised to discover that my SSH was no longer working!

After some research I discovered a blog that explained the issue was with a virus that was proliferating on jailbroken iPhones. Whoa! And here I thought Apple was immune from viruses! Apparently, while the not-so-prolific MacBooks and fullsized Macs are too small a target for hackers to create viruses for, the iPhone had become so popular that it was ripe for the pickings for a would be l33t hacker.

It’s not surprising, the iPhone is such a popular, sought-after piece of hardware that it’s become the status symbol of the celphone world. But what a phone it is.

I’m happy that I was able to discover this flaw in my iPhone, actually. Because of it, I was able to trace a slew of problems that had been bugging me with my iPhone and fix them following the guidance of the different blogs on the net.

Apparently the virus makes use of the default password and login on the iPhone which is userid: root and password: alpine. It proliferates on iPhones using these information and WiFi, and infects causing weird behavior like failure of the SSH function and changing of the wallpaper.

Well that just goes to show, you can’t be too careful with your gadgets as someone’s out there to get you. And that the more popular your gadget, the more likely it will be targeted!

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