Mobile
News
11/30/2011
02:17 PM
50%
50%

RIM Responds To PlayBook Jailbreak

Research In Motion insists its PlayBook tablet is secure, despite claims from security researchers that it has been jailbroken.

Some industrious researchers by the names of "xpvqus" and "neuralic" have conjured up a way to root--or jailbreak--the BlackBerry Playbook tablet. Gaining root access to the tablet opens it up for owners, developers, and hackers to dive in and really have some fun.

RIM begs to differ.

"Research In Motion is aware of a claim made on Twitter by security researchers working together that suggests the ability to 'jailbreak' a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet," the company said in a statement.

"The term 'jailbreaking' is commonly used to describe altering the software on a smartphone or tablet in order to obtain access to systems or applications not officially authorized or distributed by the manufacturer. BlackBerry smartphone users are not affected. RIM is currently investigating this claim and has been in contact with one of the security researchers to discuss it."

In other words, RIM is saying that it's not sure the jailbreak is legit--despite videos posted by the researchers suggesting otherwise.

RIM has to stand by the PlayBook, especially with respect to security.

Earlier this year, the PlayBook got a big thumbs up from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which granted the PlayBook FIPS certification. No other tablet, despite its success in the market, can lay claim to this title. The PlayBook stands alone with the FIPS chip on its shoulder.

FIPS certification is required for devices to be used by the federal government. This clears the PlayBook for use by government agencies, and now means the PlayBook meets RIM's own stringent security requirements for features such as native email and contact management.

So, you understand, it is a matter of pride that researchers claim to have broken the PlayBook's security.

"RIM is currently not aware of a jailbreak being leveraged by anyone other than the researchers, who claim to have performed a jailbreak on their own BlackBerry PlayBook tablets only," continued RIM. "If it is determined that the claim is accurate, RIM will follow its standard response process to develop and release a software update that is designed to minimize adverse impact to our customers or carrier partners. RIM is aware that the security researchers have stated they intend to release a tool to jailbreak the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. If such a tool is released, RIM will investigate it."

RIM takes security seriously, as well it should, given the trust placed in it by the world's largest corporations and governments. If the researchers who found the hole manage to release a jailbreak tool that the average PlayBook owner can use to jailbreak the tablet, you can bet that RIM will do everything it can to plug the hole back up.

Sensitive customer and business data is scattered in hidden corners of your infrastructure. Find and protect it before it winds up in the wrong hands. Also in the new issue of Dark Reading: The practical side of data defense. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.