Google Patches Android Jailbreak
Generally speaking, people welcome updates with open arms, hoping that the update will improve their phone’s functionality. This update has a few people upset, however. You see, last week, a tinkerer realized that it was possible to “jailbreak” the phone and gain root access by using telnetd. This jailbreak gives you full admin abilities, right down to the core of the handset’s file system. This access allows for both good and bad modifications. Given that root access lets you do stuff you probably shouldn’t without any safety warnings, there’s a good reason it’s suppose to be hidden.
Google has decided that the potential for bad modifications outweigh the good and has therefore decided to block root access via telnetd with this new RC30 update. From Google:
We’ve been notified of this issue (Jailbreaking of Android) and have developed a fix. We’re currently working with our partners to push the fix out and updating the open source code base to reflect these changes.
Even though Android is completely open source, the G1 itself is not. As a result, root access via telnet was a security flaw that allowed access to areas that HTC, T-Mobile, and Google didn’t intend to be open.
Updates such as this are always a bit of a cat-and-mouse game; hackers don’t like to be told what they can do with their devices and are looking for ways to circumvent the system, while companies such as Google are always trying to stay one-step ahead.
The RC30 update is reportedly on an accelerated release schedule and is expected to be pushed out to nearly everyone over the next few days. When your G1 is ready to be updated, you should receive a status notification that asks if you want to update now or later. Those who are interested in jailbreaking their phones might want to hold off a bit….