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G1 Android handset jailbroken

G1 Android handset jailbroken

The G1 has given its innermost secrets to clever hackers thanks to an unauthenticated Telnet server install.

If the only thing stopping you from running out right this instant and buying Google and T-Mobile's Linux-based Android handset was the silly restrictions the companies have placed on the platform, fear no more: the G1 is officially 'jailbroken'.

According to CNet's Charlie Sorrel, wily hackers have worked out a cunning way to bypass the restrictions placed on the Android platform by Google – allowing you full and complete access to the internal workings as the 'root', or superuser, account.

By installing PTerminal – a terminal application available freely on the Android marketplace – and using it to run the Telnet daemon telnetd, you are able to create a back door which allows command-line access over a network as the root user – with no authentication required. Needless to say, it'd be a really good idea to kill the daemon when you're finished.

By allowing access as the root user, this hack basically allows a G1 owner to fiddle with the core OS to his or her heart's content. One of the first uses the hack is often put to is to enable the installation of applications to SD card rather than the limited internal memory – something the Android platform does not allow by default.

Rather more worryingly – for T-Mobile, if not Google – is that this hack paves the way for an 'unlock' whereby the handset will no longer be tied to T-Mobile and will be available for use on any network of the users' choice: something that plagued the original version of the iPhone. With T-Mobile stumping up a chunk of the cost of the handset in the expectation of tying users in to an expensive monthly contract, this is unlikely to be popular.

As it stands, the hack requires nothing more than the PTerminal application and a computer with a Telnet client installed connected to the same WiFi network as the G1. How long this hole will remain unpatched remains to be see: Google has already proven willing to nag users into installing security patches for other backdoors in the system.

Tempted to get a G1 now you know you can get at its inner workings, or is the rather clunky design still putting you off? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

15 Comments

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liratheal 7th November 2008, 14:54 Quote
My first question is: What took them so long?

My second question is: Did anyone else read that as 'willy hackers' the first time around?
klutch4891 7th November 2008, 16:10 Quote
That didn't take long at all. On a side note, does an unlocked phone require a SIM card? Or does it work on any network?
Bluephoenix 7th November 2008, 16:21 Quote
very tempting, still no go for me though, I'll wait till it comes out for other networks properly, then I don't have to muck about losing the nice contract I already have.
Mongoose132 7th November 2008, 16:25 Quote
I saw 'Willy Hackers' as well... :X
FatMikel 7th November 2008, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by klutch4891
That didn't take long at all. On a side note, does an unlocked phone require a SIM card? Or does it work on any network?

You didn't think you could just unlock a phone and run around making calls and sending texts and browsing the web on any network you want, did you? You still need a SIM Card, just lets you use your choice of network provider, rather than the phone manufacturers choice. So, an unlocked iPhone on ... Orange, instead of O2, or whatever.
Jojii 7th November 2008, 17:26 Quote
certain providers (verizon, maybe others) do not use sim cards. activation is built into the phone
FatMikel 7th November 2008, 17:27 Quote
Really? That's just the US then.

So far as I know here in the UK, you can't do much without a SIM card.
klutch4891 7th November 2008, 18:22 Quote
The reason I asked is because Alltel, the carrier I have, doesn't use SIM cards in any phone. So in other words I can never get any good phones.
naokaji 7th November 2008, 18:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
The first commercial Android implementation, the T-Mobile G1, has been officially 'jailbroken' with a backdoor discovered that allows users full system access.

Now they will have to stand the real test, if they will be bricked like the Iphones by a Firmware update or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMikel
Really? That's just the US then.

Some american providers thought it would be the best way to stop you from unlocking the phone, but of course that was silly and just delayed it by a few days.
dyzophoria 7th November 2008, 18:54 Quote
Quote:
By installing PTerminal – a terminal application available freely on the Android marketplace – and using it to run the Telnet daemon telnetd, you are able to create a back door which allows command-line access over a network as the root user – with no authentication required.

that has to be easiest exploit i've ever read about to date :D , funny how the security experts at google missed this, or was this deliberate? conspiracy? lol
B3CK 7th November 2008, 21:48 Quote
You know, I was really hoping the whole "open" os would allow users to make changes to
their own content, thus allowing an android user to unlock their own phone if they feel like it.


In the U.S., all phones are "supposed" to be unlocked at owner request, but the contracts people sign up with, usually release said authority. But I don't see anyone making apple or ATT unlock those phones, so it really frustrates me to no avail when nice phones come out for specific providers, but somehow get around the new law...
Cthippo 8th November 2008, 01:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jojii
certain providers (verizon, maybe others) do not use sim cards. activation is built into the phone

Verizon, and probably Alltel too, use a totally different technology called Code Division Multiplexing somethingorother (CDMA) which is not compatible with GSM. May even be on a different frequency band.
1st time modder 8th November 2008, 02:12 Quote
Sprint, Verizon, and Alltel, all share the same CDMA networks utilizing a fully digital 1.9ghz transmission capability. Something which other providers (mainly due to cost and customer reasons used GSM, which also allows for full global capability with a sim card change). GSM is now starting to go digital along there frequency band, although at a slower rate because of the costs associated with doing so. I was hoping for a CDMA/GSM capable G1, but the sizes of the two receivers would increase the bulkiness of the phone.
karx11erx 8th November 2008, 07:35 Quote
I am standing amazed at the sight of companies believing users are willing to accept being restricted from full access to a piece of hardware they are paying. I never will. They should simply change their bloody business model so that it is unattractive to unlock a phone and use it with another mobile phone provider.
evanbraakensiek 10th November 2008, 12:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by karx11erx
I am standing amazed at the sight of companies believing users are willing to accept being restricted from full access to a piece of hardware they are paying. I never will. They should simply change their bloody business model so that it is unattractive to unlock a phone and use it with another mobile phone provider.

I think it's just a preference of UK shoppers. We'd rather be tied to a contract, and receive new hardware every x number of years. Its not that their business model is unattractive, but the market is so competitive and hardware/software which catches the public eye can sell very well.

If it can be unlocked and used on any network, surely it's still illegal? Motorola bought the rights to be first, and I'm pretty sure your network provider can tell which hardware you're using through your sim-card. Wouldn't it be breaking some gentleman's agreement within the provider circle?

It's exactly the same as when o2 bought the rights to be the exclusive provider for the Apple iPHONE. I don't want to sound like a conformist, but there's no all powerful consumer right to have both the hardware and provider you want. They may be shooting themselves in the foot, but Google [and the rest of the market] prefer money up front through exclusivity deals.

I personally like the look of the phone, though I've not seen Android in any great detail. I'll be getting a new mobile for Christmas, and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has already caught my eye. Perhaps, I'll splash out and get the one of the N-series.
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