iPhone update thwarts hacks

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iPhone update thwarts hacks

Apple has released an update for the iPhone which effectively bricks some of the devices that consumers have unlocked over the past months.

Apple had previously warned that the unapproved update, which is intended to allow the phone to operate on networks other than AT&T's, could interfere with the its operations.

Users on several websites, including Gizmodo and the Unofficial Apple Weblog, are reporting that the update causes unrepairable errors. The iPhone in some cases offers an error message about an invalid SIM card and users are unable to leave the error screen or revert the software. Inserting the original sim card won't solve the problem.

The update also caused headaches for users who had previiously performed a so-called 'jailbreak' procedure to allow the iPhone to run custom applications. While the phones updated, most users reported that the installation locks were put back in place.

Many of the third party applications were also removed from the phone, though some members of the Hackintosh forum report that the applications were merely hidden from the user interface but that the software would still be present on the device.

The firmware update itself introduced a number of new features. Apple added support for the new iTunes Wi-Fi store which allows consumers to purchase music directly from their iPHones, increased speakerphone and receiver volume, and a TV out capability.

iPhone users will also now have the ability to disable EDGE connections while traveling out of the country. The feature would be a welcome addition to travellers. Because the iPhone regularly checks for new email messages, travellers have been confronted with huge roaming fees.

Apple also plugged ten security holes. Two of the fixes addressed information disclosure and unauthorised phone access vulnerabilities in the mail application, while another patched a Bluetooth flaw that could allow remote code execution.

The remaining seven security fixes were directed towards the iPhone's Safari web browser. Three of those vulnerabilities could all for cross-site scripting, while another two addressed JavaScript errors and two more dealt with information disclosure vulnerabilities and unauthorised phone use.

Apple spokespersons did not return requests for comment on whether any of the Safari flaws affected the Windows or MacOS X versions of the browser.
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