iPhone Can Phone Home And Kill Unauthorized Apps?

Jonathan Zdziarski, author of the books “iPhone Open Application Development” and the iPhone Forensics manual, found one day while conducting a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G that the code in the new 2.x software that phones home to Apple to check if an application is authorized. That’s pretty scary, but what’s even scarier is that if it checks as unauthorized, the iPhone will then disable it.

“This suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off. At the moment, no apps have been blacklisted, but by all appearances, this has been added to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down.

“I discovered this doing a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G. It appears to be tucked away in a configuration file deep inside CoreLocation.”

On one hand, it might be able to tell if an app has had the DRM stripped, which would help cut down on app piracy. Or maybe it could be used to kill apps that have been discovered to be malicious, which would be a big boost to security. On the other hand, this might possibly be a problem for those of us who managed to purchase NetShare during the brief periods that it was available, which is pretty scary. Even scarier is the thought of Apple using this to disable unofficial apps installed through jailbreaking. If that ends up being the case, then hopefully the Dev Team will be able to get around it using the Pwnage tool.

[via iPhone Atlas]

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