Hackers have once again broken through Apple’s protections, and gained access to the latest firmware version of the iPhone. Utilizing a symbolic link exploit, hackers have gained filesystem (“jailbreak”) access to iPhone software version 1.1.1.
Gaining filesystem access is the first step in breaching a firmware. While Apple has added ample protections to firmware 1.1.1 that were not present in earlier software versions, this does point to the idea that iPhone will be (once again) fully open to third-party applications shortly.
Probably more important however, is that this will give hackers access to the latest secpatch from Apple. Having the secpatch of the latest software will allow users to downgrade the baseband firmware, effectively undoing the “permanent damage” that has been done to unlocked iPhones. It will also likely allow for users to unlock iPhones running the latest software version, since the secpatch will allow users to downgrade their baseband software (to a version that can be unlocked) while maintaining the latest iPhone software version.
This exploit has been confirmed by others already, and in addition, it is difficult to secure against. The exploit works by installing executable code in the camera photo area (an unprotected part of the iPhone, accessible to Windows, Mac, and other digital camera receivers). The exploit is completed by creating a symbolic link to iPhone’s Media directory, which prompts iPhone to automatically launch remote filesystem access (via SSH/SFTP) to iPhone’s file system. This will likely allow for installers, and other software to also run on iPhone, with minimal modification to software already available (such as the AppTapp Installer).