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iPhone “Kill Switch” Fact Or Fiction?

August 9th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Apple, iPhone

iPhone 3G

Your iPhone knows when you are sleeping and it knows when you are awake. Nah, just kidding, iPhone isn’t Santa Clause, far from it. Apparently a man named Jonathan Zdziarski has discovered a very interesting feature in the iPhone and iPhone 3G. He has discovered a mechanism deep inside the iPhone’s file system that apparently kills the GPS functionality or location services. He found a cache with a link to Apple’s severs that downloads the new list of Applications that it can kill. Jonathan tested this theory but editing the cache and changing some of the contents to see what would happen, and oddly enough, it killed the GPS functionality of the application, but what’s weird is that it kills the GPS but sends information using the network that it is attached to.

In his statements that he made he said, and I quote:

“We do not know just how active this mechanism is, It might vaporize applications. It might simply prevent them from using the GPS [global positioning system]. For all we know, it could trigger world war three, or it could cause some computer somewhere to spit out recipes for buttermilk pancakes.”

“That’s all we know — nothing more,” Zdziarski said. “And just to clarify, it only downloads a list of applications — it doesn’t ‘tell Apple’ what apps you are running — get your facts straight.””It looks like that’s all it’s set to do right now, but I may just not have found the ‘vaporize’ switch,” the developer said.If the mechanism is to kill malicious applications, Zdziarski questioned whether it was a good idea to stop at the GPS, since the application would still have access to the mobile network to transmit data.”Either there is some mechanism that can be activated to kill the app entirely, or this isn’t really designed to kill ‘malicious’ applications, as advertised, but rather applications that interfere with Apple’s business model,” Zdziarski said. “Either way, the idea that Apple can choose what functionality my applications should have frightens me.Apple was not available for comment. The only thing that will disable this feature is to jailbreak and unlock with the Pwnage Tool or WinPwn. No news if this affects iPod touch users.

-Alan Vazquez


2 Comments so far ↓

  • truehybridx

    what does he mean by it kills gps fuctionality??? i thought the iphone didnt have gps?

    really sounds like a useless piece of code apple thru in just as a waste of time since PWNage takes it away ^_^

    but hmmm

  • Alan Vazquez

    Hello again truehybridx. What I man is that any application that uses GPS, or any location abilities will be terminated. Or anything that may use the’s abilities. Ready my new article. Apparently, Steve is confirming the existence of said code. But not only will it terminate the iPhone’s GPS capabilities and such, but it will delete the application if necessary.

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