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G2 Rootkit Stops Owners from Android Hacking

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 37 comments

If you've picked up a T-Mobile G2, the successor to the first Android phone ever sold, you might want to hold off on hacking it. The phone is said to ship with a rootkit that will override any software modifications users make.

A report from New America claims that the G2 ships with an embedded microchip that prevents users from making any permanent changes to the Android software. Specifically, this chip will override any modifications by reinstalling the original firmware. As you can imagine, Android users are none too pleased about the presence of the rootkit, and the authors of the New America report say it goes against the open source nature of Android.

New America:

"This is the same Android that purposefully opened up its source code under the Apache License, allowing anyone to use, modify, and redistribute the operating system code even if they choose not to contribute back to the development community. Even among other Android computing devices and phones, the G2 is touted as an open platform. Unfortunately, the hardware in this device completely undermines this license by allowing mobile network providers to override end-user changes to the source code. Wireless network operators have deployed a hardware rootkit that restricts modifications to a device owned by the user. This would be akin to a computer sold with Microsoft Windows containing chip that prevented users from installing Linux or another operating system of their choice."

Of course, it won't take long for developers to come up with a workaround for the rootkit. In fact, Softpedia reports that the folks over on the XDA Developers forums have figured out a temporary solution for those looking to root their device. Though this root will be removed if you restart the phone, it shouldn't be too long before something more permanent is uncovered.

Source: New America (via Engadget), Softpedia

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    tntom , October 7, 2010 10:57 PM
    So much for being a spiritual successor to the G1!
  • 10 Hide
    stm1185 , October 7, 2010 10:57 PM
    Sounds like what Apple does with OSX. Shame on T-Mobile.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    stm1185 , October 7, 2010 10:57 PM
    Sounds like what Apple does with OSX. Shame on T-Mobile.
  • Display all 37 comments.
  • 10 Hide
    tntom , October 7, 2010 10:57 PM
    So much for being a spiritual successor to the G1!
  • 3 Hide
    rbarone69 , October 7, 2010 10:57 PM
    Just get a different phone! I mean if you want the ability to root the phone unhindered there are plenty of flavors of Android that are easily hacked...

    As the article says, it wont matter much soon anyways.
  • 6 Hide
    the_krasno , October 7, 2010 11:00 PM
    Which is why I want a Nexus.
  • 7 Hide
    TheRockMonsi , October 7, 2010 11:38 PM
    Can somebody tell me why companies are trying to prevent people from hacking into their phones?
  • 1 Hide
    ca87 , October 7, 2010 11:48 PM
    I smell a loop hole on T-Mobile. Might that be why they have used this rootkit?
  • 1 Hide
    spentshells , October 7, 2010 11:58 PM
    TheRockMonsiCan somebody tell me why companies are trying to prevent people from hacking into their phones?


    to keep it working properly on said network... the end
    all the mods are not supported all the apps are unsupported
    the change people make may cause the device issues
    such as not being able to call 911 when GPS is on for example
    not all networks are the same not all networks are going to allow
    the devices to work as advertised also not all networks can support all features of the devices
    which are sometimes not supported by the network.
    the providers tech support ...supporting the issues people have with the devices after modifyung them can not alway help you fix the issues created with x modification. plus if you screw with the phone it stops working ....you void the warrenty so open source or not.
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , October 7, 2010 11:59 PM
    yeah I repeated repeated myself lol
  • 4 Hide
    house70 , October 8, 2010 12:30 AM
    Motorola does something similar to their phones, I remember reading about the chip that prevented unlocking the bootloader on their Droid/Milestone and therefore preventing the install of rooted ROMs.
    Same shameful tactics that go against all that Android is about.
  • 1 Hide
    Khimera2000 , October 8, 2010 12:53 AM
    O that blows... Looks like im not going to be getting a HTC phone if this is what there going to do to there costomers.... SAMSUNG HERE I COME :D ... or some other android maker :D . on a side note... is HTC going to be doing this to all there phones in the future??
  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 8, 2010 1:34 AM
    WTF?!?!? Isn't the entire point of Android OPENNESS?????

    Do note: This is done by Tmobile, NOT by HTC.
    Quote:
    Unfortunately, the hardware in this device completely undermines this license by allowing mobile network providers to override end-user changes to the source code. Wireless network operators have deployed a hardware rootkit that restricts modifications to a device owned by the user.
  • -2 Hide
    Khimera2000 , October 8, 2010 1:38 AM
    shadow hardware is the manufactuars option, thy could of told them no but they did not. i will always expect the T-mobiles and the AT&T of the worlds to do this, but the fact is HTC makes the pnone not T-mobile, it is a rebrand. so I still blame HTC for saying yes to a hardware implimintation.
  • -3 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 8, 2010 1:48 AM
    house70Motorola does something similar to their phones, I remember reading about the chip that prevented unlocking the bootloader on their Droid/Milestone and therefore preventing the install of rooted ROMs.Same shameful tactics that go against all that Android is about.

    All carriers do it to the android they word it a bit differently and try to make it look like they are helping the users but they all do it or soon plan to do it to some extent.

    Personally the one thing i don't like about android is there is no min spec requirements so development on it is hard when it comes to compatibility, esp compared to developing for the iphone or the new windows 7 phones that are coming out. I mean next year there will be what 70+ android phones on the market. It's going to be hard for consumers to understand what they want to buy.
  • -5 Hide
    zachary k , October 8, 2010 2:09 AM
    think this is karma for all the iphone bashing droid users did?
    i wonder what apple users did to get this much bad karma in the first place?
    PS: people interested in tech LOVE SHOPPING!! SPAM MORE!!! you will get TONES of new customers. this is a GOOD USE of bandwidth, CPU cycles, and time that could be spent spamming somewhere else.
    PPS: that was sarcasm.
  • 1 Hide
    BulkZerker , October 8, 2010 2:20 AM
    zachary kthink this is karma for all the iphone bashing droid users did?i wonder what apple users did to get this much bad karma in the first place?PS: people interested in tech LOVE SHOPPING!! SPAM MORE!!! you will get TONES of new customers. this is a GOOD USE of bandwidth, CPU cycles, and time that could be spent spamming somewhere else.PPS: that was sarcasm.


    Maybe you should phone their store and speak chinese. Then maybe they'd understand you better than posting her to their bots.
  • 0 Hide
    xantek24 , October 8, 2010 2:25 AM


    Moderator Edit: swearing at the spammers isn't helping anything.
  • 5 Hide
    TheKurrgan , October 8, 2010 2:28 AM
    While I understand that carriers want to try and "protect" their users, if someone has the know how and willingness to try and put a custom rom / root their phone, so be it. What I dont understand is why they dont REALLY help their customers by ALLOWING people to screw with it and giving them a way to put it back to bone stock easily instead of relying on community support. While I understand the warranty is "void" by doing this, it IS only software, and as such SHOULDNT void any warranties because it can be put back with ease to the same condition as factory..
    bottom line, I wish manufacturers would stop fighting power users on this, its silly.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 8, 2010 2:46 AM
    khimera2000shadow hardware is the manufactuars option, thy could of told them no but they did not. i will always expect the T-mobiles and the AT&T of the worlds to do this, but the fact is HTC makes the pnone not T-mobile, it is a rebrand. so I still blame HTC for saying yes to a hardware implimintation.

    Yes, but it is Tmobile ultimately implementing and using it.
  • 1 Hide
    jaksun5 , October 8, 2010 3:36 AM
    HTC should be sticking up for our right and telling the to get f-d! :-)
  • 0 Hide
    jaksun5 , October 8, 2010 3:36 AM
    Sorry hopefully swearing at big business isn't as bad as swearing at spammers :-D
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