Turning iPhones into Malicious Hacker Targets

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-06 Print this article Print


5. Novice users should stay away. Some users are more capable of jailbreaking a device and getting it to work properly than others. Realizing that, it's best for novice users to stay far away from iPhone jailbreaking solutions. Although it might sound exciting to break free from Apple's grips, there is a real risk involved with jailbreaking a smartphone. And if a user doesn't have the requisite knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to achieve that, it's best if they don't do it.

6. It's not about Apple's control. In the jailbreaking community, there is much debate over why Apple doesn't want users to jailbreak the iPhone. Most say that it's simply Apple trying to control its operating system and keeping its users within its grasps. But there is much more to Apple's desire than that. Apple is deeply concerned with the security issues that potentially plague a jailbroken operating system. Despite its hurting the user more than anyone else, it could have a negative impact on the iPhone ecosystem, and that's something that Apple doesn't want to see happen. Plus, jailbreaking gives hackers an upper hand, thanks to the ability to dig inside iOS. Those who insist on jailbreaking should at least do it for the right reasons.

7. The apps aren't worth it. The main reason iPhone owners jailbreak their smartphone is to get access to those applications that haven't made their way to the App Store. Unfortunately, most of those applications pale in comparison to those already available in Apple's App Store. When Apple offered the App Store, it made it too profitable for developers to want to create applications for the jailbreaking community. Now, most solid titles are available in Apple's App Store, rather than to those who jailbreak their smartphones. It's something that iPhone owners should consider before they decide to jailbreak their smartphone.

8. Other options are available. If users want to jailbreak their iPhones because they're unhappy with what the device offers, it might be time to consider an alternative device. Jailbreaking might afford users the opportunity to continue using an iPhone, but given the success of Android, switching to the Droid X or another device might be a better idea. Not only does it deliver a different smartphone experience, but it gives users a set of new applications to try out. And the best part is, switching to Android doesn't create the security problems that arise when jailbreaking an iPhone.

9. iOS 4 is a must-have. Although there have been some fine reasons to jailbreak the iPhone in the past, with the release of iOS 4, it's becoming less and less appealing. The latest iPhone software boasts many of the features users have been waiting for, including multitasking, and it generally delivers a far better experience than previous versions of the operating system. In other words, it leaves little to be desired. iOS 4 might not have every bell and whistle that consumers want, but it has enough to justify keeping the software closed down.

10. The timing is bad. Now that the U.S. government has said that jailbreaking an iPhone is just fine, malicious hackers will be focusing their efforts on iPhone customers more than ever. After all, prior to the ruling, just a small percentage of iPhone owners were actually jailbreaking their devices and most of them were advanced users. Today, just about anyone can do it, and hackers will have more vulnerable targets from which to choose. Now is just not a good time to jailbreak the iPhone. A few years ago, the risks would be low. Today, they're increasing by the day.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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