Hackers call time on Apple Watch security

News by Tom Reeve

While some hackers focus on hacking the banks, retailers and other big beasts in the online jungle, others are concentrating on hacking smaller and smaller things, a trend that has reached its zenith with the news that the Apple Watch has been hacked.

In techie jargon, it's quite possibly the first known example of jailbreaking the Apple Watch, the latest must-have accessory.

The hacker, a 20-something iOS developer named 'Comex' – real name Nicholas Allegra – became famous in the jailbreaking community for developing JailBreakMe before being hired as an intern by Apple. After honing his skills still further – and presumably teaching Apple a thing or two about security – he moved onto other projects.

Comex has demonstrated via a short video that he can run a full web browser on the device, something that shouldn't be possible if the hardware restrictions on iOS were doing their job. He hasn't confirmed that he has jailbroken the Watch, but if he has, it would give Comex root access to the iOS file system and manager, allowing him to run code that hasn't been filtered through the Apple App Store.

Apple maintains that the App Store preserves the security of iOS devices by ensuring that code is vetted before being offered for download and that “dead” apps which are not being maintained any longer are removed. It has also been demonstrated that jailbreaking opens iPhones and iPads to malware infection.

Apple has announced that it will soon offer a software developer kit (SDK) for Watch, allowing developers to go further than they can currently go with WatchKit, an iPhone app extension tool for integrating apps with Watch.

Watching Comex's video demo, complete with close ups of his thumb which obscures most of the Watch's tiny screen, it becomes immediately clear why Apple itself chose not to even try to give it a web browser.  

It's estimated that 7.5 percent of iPhone users around the world have jailbroken their devices, according to Marble Security.

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