Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hackers Use Open Source Too

Hackers Use Open Source Too


Hey hackers use open source tools too. Two well known (in their own neck of the woods anyway) jailbreaking tools are going open source.  GreenPoisOn [1] and Redsn0w will both be making their widely respected jailbreaking tools source code available to developers [2].  While to most of you reading this, having the source code to these two tools available doesn't do much for you right now, the affect this could have on the iPhone market is pretty big.
Once developers get their hands on these tools they can experiment, improve and evolve them to higher levels then ever before.  The result could be easier, faster and more efficient jailbreaking of phones. As it is GreenPois0n can already jailbreak an iPhone running 4.1 and Redsn0w can jailbreak both 4.1 and 4.2. If installation can be made easier ala' jailbreakme.com, the Apple folks will be having fits for sure.  I guess one more reason for Apple to not like open source.
These two are not the only hacking tools to go open either. For many years hackers shared the source code to their hacks with other hackers.  It was a way of showing "your chops".  But with malware and black hat type of behavior becoming so profitable recently, many illegal hackers (as opposed to white hat hackers who generally don't participate in illegal activity) have taken to hoarding their source code and selling their illicit programs.
A great example of this is the infamous Zeus malware program which has plagued financial industry networks now for some time.  My friend Brian Krebs formerly of the Washington Post and now on his own at Krebs on Security wrote this great expose [3] on the Zeus author giving the source code to Zeus to another malware author to "support his clients". It is a fascinating look inside the big money malware for profit market.  Though not open source, go have a read for yourself.
Back to our main point though, why shouldn't hackers use open source too?  The very same principles that make open source successful for you and me applies to them as well.  In fact the hacking community generally is out front with this type of thing anyway.
As an iPhone user myself, I am actually looking forward to seeing what happens with these jailbreaking tools are released into the open source community.  Anything that gives us more choice and options is good by me

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