Thursday, 16 August 2012 15:02

Encrypted Bootloader on Verizon Galaxy S III Cracked

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One of my favorite quotes (relating to security) is “what man can lock, man can unlock”. Another quote that I like is “they all break when you apply enough pressure”. Both of these are crucial to an understanding of security as it relates to just about everything. This includes physical security, data security; you name it… if you try to hide it or lock it up someone can get at it with enough time and resources. One place that this is often overlooked is in the department of DRM (Digital Rights Management).

When people think of DRM the first thing that usually comes to mind are the annoying safeguards that software distribution companies put into their products. You know, the ones that usually only end up preventing paying customers from using the games. DRM actually extends beyond that into many different aspects of

maintaining control over what you claim as yours. As an example at one company I worked for we had a document center was capable of preventing someone from printing, downloading, copying or taking screen shots of any documents stored in it (without authorization) this was intended to protect the companies policies and internal documentation.

DRM also extend to the protection carriers put into their phones with everything from bootloaders to locked basebands. Unfortunately there has not been a phone that has not been broken once the community put their minds to it. Even now we are hearing that the encrypted bootloader that Verizon put on their Galaxy S III phones has been broken only a few weeks after the launch of the phone. Verizon claims that the bootloader was put in place to prevent rooted phones from affecting network performance or from being the source of network attacks (which is what both AT&T and Apple tried to claim about Jailbreaking the iPhone).  What made the claim seem less realistic is the fact that Samsung was selling an unlocked developer edition of the phone with an increased price (about $600). We guess they think that developers are more careful, or that they priced the open phone out of most people’s reach.

The problem is that what Verizon locked, someone has unlocked and is also willing to share their knowledge with everyone. All you need to crack open the encrypted bootloader on Verizon’s Galaxy S III is a copy of OSX or Linux and some patience. You can find detailed written and video instructions online. So to all of you that might have a Verizon flavor of the S III happy rooting! To Verizon and others that try to over-aggressively lock their products down remember, what you can lock, we can unlock.

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Read 3700 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 August 2012 15:10

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