Sharp End: iPhone 3.1 warning


A warning about 3.1

As we all know Apple last week announced some new iPods, as well as updates for iTunes as well as iPhone OS version 3.1.

Version 3.1 software for the iPhone brings very little in the way of enhancements to the iPhone. But it does however re-impose the software lock catching out anyone who inadvertently upgrades to this new version.

Reports from the unlocking experts, Dev-Team, warn against users updating to version 3.1.

Not only will updating re-lock the iPhone but it also updates the phones Baseband version. If this happens it is currently impossible to revert back to a previous version.

So a user may permanently brick their phone. Dev-Team says it will update its Pwnage Tool soon to version 3.1 If users of unlocked iPhones hold back on updating their iPhones via iTunes then Dev-Team says they will be able to upgrade to 3.1 without having to update their Baseband. This way the phone will still be unlocked and Jailbroken.

Another consequence of 3.1 is that any iPhone 2G or 3G user (not the new 3G S) that uses Microsoft Exchange to sync all their contacts, emails etc will find that they will no longer be able to do so. After updating 2G and 3G users get a security alert advising that their phone does not support full hardware encryption if the company’s IT team have enforced that policy.

The 2G and 3G iPhones do not support hardware encryption at all. So syncing with Exchange will never work unless their IT department relaxes its security policy which is unlikely.

In fact, what Apple has done here is actually improve the iPhone security on the 3G S which does support hardware encryption.

The problem arises for 2G and 3G iPhone users because, before 3.1 the iPhone software simply reported back to the Exchange server that the phone did support hardware encryption.

Put bluntly the iPhone lied about its capabilities previously.
This was an intentional “bug” in previous iPhone software so that Apple could rush through its Exchange synchronisation capabilities.