BlackBerry PlayBook Jailbreak Will Void Warranty, Warns RIM

on March 22 2012 1:38 PM

When the DingleBerry jailbreaking tool for the PlayBook surfaced last year, Research in Motion (RIM) rushed to patch it and said it would continue to investigate any tools that would enable root access to the tablet. Now, in a post on Inside BlackBerry for Business blog, the company has taken one step further against jailbreaking by officially announcing that such practices will void the warranty of the device.

Security Risks Linked to Jailbreaking

Customers who use a jailbreaking tool on BlackBerry products void the manufacturer warranty, wrote RIM's Adrian Stone, director of the BlackBerry Security Incident Response Team, referring to the PlayBook in particular. Stone further warns that customers who resort to jailbreaking risk potential security issues, such as weakening the protection of the data on the device. Moreover, Stone also warned users against installing software from unofficial sources, as it would add to more security risks.

Two Types of Jailbreaking

According to Stone, the company breaks down jailbreaking into two categories: the first one is tethered jailbreaking, which requires the device to be connected to a computer, and the second is untethered jailbreak, which requires very little user interaction. More specifically, tethered jailbreaking involves hooking up the device to a computer and voluntarily making changes that may require going into developer mode, while untethered jailbreaking involves visiting a Web page and downloading jailbreaking software to the device.

How Will RIM Deal with Jailbreaks

As tethered jailbreaks pose lower security risks, RIM will fight them with future software updates. Untethered jailbreaks, however, are an indication of a more serious underlying issue and will most likely result in the release of a security update to address it as soon as possible, Stone said.

High Security Standards

RIM is targeting enterprise and business users, and the high standard it promotes in security may be one of its last advantages in competing with other smartphone platforms and manufacturers. The post does not name a particular BlackBerry device, but so far the BlackBerry PlayBook is the only rootable device in the lineup. The strong stance against jailbreaking is completely understandable considering RIM's high security standards. However it could push away customers rather than attract them, and the tablet is fairly unpopular as it is.

(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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