You may have heard the term jailbreaking or rooting in regards to your mobile phone, but what is this and what does it really mean for you?
Jailbreaking is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple and associated carriers on devices running the iOS operating system. To “jailbreak” means to allow the phone’s owner to gain full access to the root of the operating system and access all the features. Similar to jailbreaking, “rooting” is the term for the process of removing the limitations on a mobile or tablet running the Android operating system.
Jailbroken phones came into the mainstream when Apple first released their iPhone and it was only on AT&T’s network. Users who wanted to use an iPhone with other carriers were not able to unless they had a jailbroken iPhone.
By hacking your device, you can potentially open security holes that may have not been readily apparent, or undermine the device’s built-in security measures. Jailbroken and rooted phones are much more susceptible to viruses and malware because users can avoid Apple and Google application vetting processes that help ensure users download virus-free apps.
It is inevitable that over the next few years, as millions of smartphones replace handhelds, laptops, and desktop PCs, and billions of applications are downloaded—risks of mobile crime will rise. Not only do you need to stay educated about the latest threat and scams, you should also make sure you havecomprehensive mobile security installed on your mobile device.
And remember, jailbreaking or rooting your mobile device can open you up to security risks that don’t make it worth doing so.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)