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Hackers jailbreak RIM`s PlayBook

Last Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 09:20

Toronto: Three hackers say they have exploited vulnerability in Research In Motion`s PlayBook tablet to gain root access to the device, a claim that could damage the BlackBerry maker`s hard-won reputation for security.

Root access means a user has permission to alter any file or program on a device and can control hardware functions.

In a response to queries, RIM said it is investigating the claim, and if a "jailbreak" is confirmed will release a patch to plug the hole.

The three hackers - who identify themselves as xpvqs, neuralic and Chris Wade - plan to release their data within a week as a tool called DingleBerry.

Apple`s iOS and Google`s Android operating systems are frequently attacked by users who want to run programs that have not been authorized by the manufacturers, but breaches of RIM`s software are more rare.

The PlayBook runs on a different operating system than RIM`s current BlackBerry smartphones. However, the QNX system will be incorporated into its smartphones starting next year.

The PlayBook in July became the first tablet device to win a security certification approving it for US government use.

In a video posted on YouTube, Wade shows the DingleBerry tool allowing the PlayBook to access the Internet video service Hulu, which is not currently available on RIM`s tablet.

Hulu, a service from Comcast`s NBC Universal, News Corp`s Fox and Walt Disney Co`s ABC, blocks all mobile browsers by default and has yet to offer an app for the PlayBook.

A second video showed neuralic typing commands into a computer to turn the PlayBook`s LED indicators on and off.

A source told Reuters that RIM had previously closed a PlayBook vulnerability that allowed a pre-loaded racing game to force a user to watch an introductory video.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 09:20

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