A patent filing by Apple in February 2009 was made public last week. This patent is related to the "Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device". In the patent it details how Apple's technology is capable of identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device. This unauthorized user of the electronic device can be detected by identifying particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior. It is rumored that this technology may appear on the iPad to allow for the feature of sharing a single iPad among different family members or in a classroom situation.

For security application of the technology, when an unauthorized user is detected, various safety measures can be taken. For example, information related to the identity of the unauthorized user (ie. photo, IP address, etc.), the unauthorized user's operation of the electronic device, or the current location of the electronic device can be gathered. While functions of the electronic device can be restricted upon unauthorized used has been confirmed.

The owner of the electronic device can be notified of the unauthorized user by sending an alert notification through any suitable medium, such as, for example, a voice mail, e-mail, or text message.

On the positive side this technology may be Apple's attempts to satisfy corporate users regarding security concerns and their ability to entrust sensitive corporate information on these iOS devices.

On the other hand, Apple can use this technology to potentially identify Jailbreakers as "unauthorized users", the system will then notify Apple via one of the notification means described. We have to remember that when the US Copyrights Office rules that it is no longer illegal under the DMCA to jailbreak the iPhone, Apple's response to the ruling is that "jailbreaking is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement",

I continue to caution anyone who are considering jailbreaking their iOS devices. Please read blog post relating to local [Hong Kong] issues with jailbreaking.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

A few days ago I mentioned in my post, Things to do Before Upgrading iPhone to 3.1.x, if you do not do what described then you will not be able to jailbreak or unlock ever again, or until the hacking community figure out a way. Well there is now a way. If you had stored your 3.0 iBSS and iBEC files on the Cydia server. If that is not the case, you will want to follow the instructions at Jay Freeman's web site.

Now that the iPhone Dev Team has released Pwnage Tool 3.1 for iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 1G. The version for the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 2G and 3G will be coming soon.

As always I do not see a need for jailbreaking at the moment, and if you do not have to, I do recommend you seek someone who has the technical background to understand that process for assistance, especially if you do not have the skills yourself.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

Pwnage Tool logoApple released the new OS X update 10.5.7 on Tuesday evening (US PST). When it was released most users with unlocked iPhone 3G were worry that the latest OS X update will further hamper their Mac's ability to place the iPhone into DFU mode. Now the iPhone Dev Team has tweeted yesterday that OS 10.5.7 is even more compatible to the jailbreak process than OS 10.5.6, which disabled the DFU mode.

The new 10.5.7 Leopard update is safe. In fact it's more jailbreak-friendly than 10.5.6, since the DFU-mode bug is gone.

So I now recommend everyone to upgrade your Mac OS 10.5 as soon as possible, as there are many security fixes in OS 10.5.7, including a Safari 4 Beta security update that you only see after upgrading to OS 10.5.7.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

iPhone 3G imageRecently a friend of mine commented that my articles (posts) on the iPhone and its usage in Hong Kong are very helpful, but they are a bit technical for layman user like himself. So, for the sake of helping as many potential iPhone users understand what's involved before committing to a purchase of an iPhone in Hong Kong, I decided  to summarize some key points here.

  1. All iPhone sold in Hong Kong are "carrier unlocked". That means you can take the iPhone purchased through legitimate channels1 straight out of the box, place a carrier SIM2 card in the phone and the it will work.
  2. You should not use any "carrier unlocking" software (like Yellowsn0w from the iPhone Dev Team) on iPhone 3G sold through legitimate channels in Hong Kong, because of point #1.
  3. When the say "iTunes" this is the application that manages the synchronization of your iPhone with your computer and all your music. Where as "iTunes Store" is the online store where Apple sells3 music, videos, audiobooks and iPhone applications. The section that sells iPhone applications is called the "iTunes App Store".
  4. All iPhone 3G sold in Hong Kong requires activation, this is accomplished by connecting it to iTunes, and logging into iTunes Store. So a free iTunes Store Hong Kong account is required. No longer requires an iTunes Store Hong Kong account.
  5. Even if you do not want to pay for any iPhone applications from the iTunes App Store you will have to provide a valid Hong Kong credit card to create an account in the iTunes Store Hong Kong.
  6. All carrier plans have limitations on the type of data traffic included. Therefore you need to be very specific with the sales person when choosing your data plan. For example, Smartone-Vodafone "IOM Value Pack" data plan only covers "web browsing traffic". It is hard to know what they mean by "web browsing", but it does not cover traffic generated by the built-in iPhone Mail application, and 40% of the traffic generated by iPhone 3rd party applications. Details of choosing a plan can be found in my post Is Smartone-Vodafone’s IOM Value Pack Right for iPhone?
  7. Unlocking and Jailbreaking software are easily available from iPhone Dev Team for FREE. At this stage, because the procedure is so simple, I would not pay anyone to do either for your iPhone (whether it is a 2G or 3G version) purchased outside of Hong Kong, unless you really have a phobia of technology.
  8. Jailbreak means to hack the iPhone so that you can install Apple unauthorized iPhone applications onto the phone. Jailbreaking does not include unlocking.
  9. The term "Carrier lock" means the iPhone is only usable on a particular mobile phone carrier's network and SIM card. So "Unlock" means to remove this restriction, and performing an Unlock will include Jailbreaking. Also see point #2.
  10. All iPhones sold outside of Hong Kong usually requires a 2-year contract commitment with the Apple's carrier partner. In most cases if an iPhone is not activated within 30 days the difference is charged to the purchaser's credit card. So you should think twice before asking a friend to purchase an iPhone for you overseas.

1 Legitimate channels as of this writing are: Three ("3") carrier outlets, or Apple Hong Kong Online Store. [Update: February 28, 2009] All Apple Authorized Resellers.
2 The mobile SIM card needs to support GSM frequencies 850, 900, 1800, 1900 or 2100MHz
3 iTunes Store in Hong Kong only sells iPhone Apps as of this writing.

Pwnage Tool logoApple released a new firmware for the iPhone (v2.2.1). Again for anyone who had or plan to jailbreak or unlock your iPhone (2G or 3G) please be patience and DO NOT upgrade to the latest iPhone firmware.

This is especially important for all those who are currently using unlocked iPhones (2G).

The iPhone Dev Team had already posted a note saying that they will investigate the new firmware. Most likely update versions of the Pwnage Tool and QuickPwn applications for both Macintosh and Windows OS will be coming to address changes in this latest iPhone firmware from Apple.

Along with the update announcement within iTunes, Apple included notes to say there are Safari improvements. Hopefully this will finally eliminate all those Safari crashes on the iPhone.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

There is a new way to enable the Emoji icons on your iPhone with firmware 2.2.

The trick is to purchase the USD0.99 iPhone App 老地方冰果室 (aka "FrostyPlace"). This is an application that allows you to view the latest posts from an Apple discussion forum in Taipei, Taiwan. Therefore if you read Chinese it may be useful and if you live in Taipei it may also be relevant.

After you downloaded the application you then follow these steps:

  1. Start the FrostyPlace application FrostyPlace Application
  2. You should see a list of articles, simply choose one or too by selecting them. After you view some articles you can go back to the Home page of your iPhone. There may not be any articles listed in the News section (first tab), if that is true you will need to click on the second tab to see a list of articles. List of FrostyPlace Articles FrostyPlace Article
  3. After returning to the iPhone's Home screen, click on the Settings icon to get into the General Settings. iPhone Home Page General Settings
  4. Go into the Keyboard settings. Keyboard Settings
  5. Choose the International Keyboards item.
  6. Scrolls to the Japanese item and select it.
  7. You should see three options and one of this should be the Emoji; enable it. Emoji Settings Emoji Enabled Note Pad

That's it, you will now have access to the Emoji keyboard, by cycling through the "Globe" icon besides the Space Bar in the keyboard, where ever the keyboard is available.

If the Emoji option does not appear in the Japanese keyboard settings, just go back to the FrostyPlace application and repeats all the steps.

Any mobile phones in the world that supports the extra character (Emoji) set; most of them will be in Europe and Japan, will be able to receive messages with Emoji icons. These include the iPhone running the firmware v2.2 and above.

Note that this technique will not work for the recently updated iPhone firmware 2.2.1 at the moment.

Now if I can get Qik and BiteSMS on the iPhone 3G without jailbreaking I will be very happy.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

Pwnage Tool logoOver the past year and a half I had assisted many people with the unlocking of their iPhones. Many more people ask me about unlocking. So instead of answering each of these people over and over again, I thought I post an article in my blog, which I can refer them to for more details.

  1. What Does iPhone Unlock mean? Many carriers around the world will "carrier lock" a cell phone that they had subsidized for their customers. To ensure the purchaser of the cell phone stays as a customer of the carrier after the purchase, the carrier will normally do two things:

    • Make the purchaser commit to a contract that bounds them to the carrier for a number of years (2 years is common). Of course the purchaser can break the contract, but there is usually a penalty to compensate the carrier for the subsidizing the cell phone.
    • Carrier Lock the cell phone to the carrier's network, meaning the cell phone cannot be used on any other cellular network in the world.

  2. Is "Carrier Unlocking" the iPhone Illegal? In most countries with consumer protection regulations it is not illegal, but I am not a lawyer so I will not attempt to advise you with this matter. If you are concern I suggest you seek legal advise in your local area.
  3. Is It Illegal to Use a "Carrier Unlocked" iPhone on My Carrier? In almost all countries there are some regulations that prevent the use of unauthorized equipments on a mobile carrier network. In Hong Kong the individual carrier is responsible for managing the OFTA license, and has the rights to disallow the use of any unauthorized cell phone on their network including the canceling of an individual's cell phone service for using an unauthorized cell phone.
  4. What is the Difference Between Jailbreaking and Unlocking the iPhone? Jailbreaking is to process of hacking the iPhone so that "unauthorized" 3rd party applications can be installed on the iPhone. Ever since the launch of the Apple "iPhone AppStore" it is less important to jailbreak, unless there are applications that one really need. For me one such application is BiteSMS. Unlocking includes jailbreaking and it is the process of hacking the iPhone so that it is not carrier restricted (carrier locked) to a particular carrier partner. As of this writing you can find a list of Apple worldwide carrier partners for the iPhone at Apple.com.
  5. How Do I Jailbreak/Unlock My iPhone? Since June 2007 there had been many methods to jailbreak or unlock the iPhone. First there were the 23 steps method, including the use of SSH client and various other manipulations of proprietary files on the iPhone. Fortunately, since then we now have simple programs like the Pwnage Tool from the iPhoneDev Team, who has been the major hacking group coming out with methods and software to "carrier" unlock the iPhone. If you have a 1st generation iPhone you can follow the guide at ModMyi.com for the 1G iPhone. If you have the iPhone 3G, you should follow ModMyi.com's guide for the iPhone 3G. The same site you will find Windows equivalent instructions for both versions of the iPhone.
  6. Can I Unlock my iPhone 3G? As of the writing of this post there are no software unlock method for the iPhone 3G. The only way to "carrier" unlock an iPhone 3G is to use a hardware unlock; tools like TurboSIM. I do not recommend this hardware unlock, since in many case it will damage the iPhone. The iPhoneDev Team claims to be making available a tool on New Year's Eve 2008 that will unlock the iPhone 3G, similar to the ease of use of the current Pwnage Tool. To prove that their method is successful and simple, they have released a video of this tool; code name "Yellowsn0w".
  7. What is the Best Carrier Plan for the iPhone in Hong Kong? Although, carrier plans changes almost monthly, like anything in Hong Kong, mobile carrier price plans (tariff plans) have been very competitive. Over this past year and a half I had examined most of them. You can read my findings of these mobile carrier plans analyzed from an iPhone user in Hong Kong's perspectives.

Yesterday the iPhone Dev Team released QuickPwn (the Torrent link) for Macintosh. This is the Macintosh OS X version of the same tool they released for Windows users several weeks ago. The different between this tool and the Pwnage Tool the iPhone Dev Team has also released for the Macintosh is that the QuickPwn will not require a restore using iTunes, therefore a bit friendlier to layman iPhone users (junior hackers) who need to unlock and jailbreak their iPhone (1st generation) or jailbreak their iPhone 3G. iPhone Dev Team says the Pwnage Tool will still be enhanced and supported as it will be the tool for iPhone users who like to customize their .IPSW package for the iPhone.

I personally have not yet use this tool as my iPhone has already been upgraded to iPhone firmware 2.0.2 using the Pwnage Tool for Macintosh.

Please feel free to share your experiences; either good or bad, here via comments.

After Apple released the iPhone firmware 2.0.2 over a week ago and the rumored fixes it contains, which suppose to resolve many of the issues introduced by the iPhone firmware 2.0. I was eager to be able to upgrade my iPhone (1st generation). Unfortunately, my iPhone was jailbroken and unlocked, so I had to wait for the hacking community; mainly iPhone Dev Team, to release a tool that will allow me to upgrade my pwned iPhone. The iPhone Dev Team did introduce such a tool (Pwnage Tool 2.0.3) several days ago, but quickly pulled it off its server after several hours. Dispointed but happy that iPhone Dev Team reacted quickly on a bug that they found to be serious.

Yesterday, they finally released a new version of the Pwnage Tool 2.0.3.1 that resolved all know issues. I quickly downloaded it and after giving it 24 hours began to upgrade my iPhone.

I was happy to report that my iPhone upgraded successfully and all the issues I've had in the past with my iPhone running pre-2.0.2 firmware had all disappeared. Particularly the slowness when typing a message.

I should add "YET!". Apple made available firmware 2.0.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

iPhone Firmware 2.0.1 Availability

If you have an iPhone 3G (non-jailbroken), original iPhone (non-jailbroken and locked) or a pristine iPod Touch, then you should definitely upgrade to this latest firmware. So far all reports show that applications runs faster, quicker synchronization with iTunes and spiffier overall functions of the iPhone or iPod Touch.

WARNING: if you are not in the above group of Apple device owners, meaning you have jailbroken and/or unlocked your iPhone or iPod Touch you should NOT upgrade. You will need to wait for the hacking community to update their hacking methods (currently Pwnage Tool) before doing any firmware update.

The only exception will be the iPod Touch owners who had jailbroken their device and do not mind returning their iPod to Apple factory condition (ie. no more unauthorized 3rd party applications).

BTW: As I have reported on Twitter and other Social Networks, I am experimenting with a method to resolve much of the frequent crashes on the iPhone with firmware 2.0. I will be reporting here on my blog as soon as I have definite results. Please stay tune.