RIM Responds To PlayBook Jailbreak - InformationWeek

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11/30/2011
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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.

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