The teen hacker who unlocked the original iPhone is at it again. George Hotz (pictured), 19, claims to have created an app that can “jailbreak” the iPhone 3G S.
That means the program, dubbed purplera1n, can install third-party software on an iPhone 3G S, even if that software is not approved by Apple. It didn’t take him long to hack the iPhone 3G S, which has only been available since June 19.
Jailbreaking is a big deal because it shows that it isn’t impossible to overcome Apple’s built-in security features for the iPhone. To some users, jailbreaking adds value to the phone because they are able to run a variety of unauthorized apps. Apple tries to close off vulnerabilities that make jailbreaking possible, but hackers such as Hotz look for new ones in a cat-and-mouse game.
Note that while Hotz was originally able to “unlock” the iPhone so that it could make phone calls on non-AT&T networks, “jailbreaking” is different in that it merely allows unapproved apps to run on the iPhone.
Hotz released software on Friday that works with Windows-based computers and the latest version of iTunes, as well as an iPhone 3G S running the latest iPhone 3.0 software. He talked about it in a blog post. Today, he released a Mac version. He warns that people who try the software should do a backup before they start.
In the initial post, Hotz wrote, “We release, Apple fixes, we find new holes.” Various blogs have confirmed that the software works. Hotz gained fame in August, 2007 when, at the age of 17, he became the first hacker to crack the iPhone’s security so it could run unauthorized apps.