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Old 11-29-2012, 04:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
Is Amazon intentionally attempting to lock down the device?



The new Sonys are Androids too. But I got the impression that Nooks are preferred for hacking. Check this out:
Quake 3 on a Nook
I don't know if you could do that on a Sony. Maybe the rooted Nook is more stable than the Sony.

Anyway, sorry to hear the new Kindle is more locked-down. Hopefully the developers will get round it.
I'm guessing that it has to be intentional by design since even if they unintentionally disabled the jailbreak, they still have to go out of their way to wipe out your homebrew. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that if they just simply disabled the jailbreak, then the homebrew that you already have installed should still work. As far as the Sony readers go, I forgot that they also run Android, but yeah, the Nooks are definitely the golden child as far as the Android community is concerned.
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Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
Community developers improve the functionality of devices where the manufacturers fall short. Sure, I don't want to play quake 3 on my ereader, but I do want an improved UI, better formatting, more readable formats (epub for Kindle, for example), etc. All these things are made possible by community developers.
This is exactly why I hack my Kindle. Being able to read epub and having a competent PDF reader has made the Kindle far more useful for me.
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Originally Posted by neonbible View Post
Wouldn't someone eventually find a way to jailbreak PWs again?
I'm sure people will keep looking for new exploits, but who knows if/when the next one will be found. In the meantime, Amazon might release more updates, and then you might have to choose between keeping your jailbreak or updating for more features.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
Is Amazon intentionally attempting to lock down the device?
Yes, they are. It's not always for the reasons folks think, but it still isn't what many would consider a good reason.

Security is a tricky business, especially when we have more networked devices than ever before. The Kindle itself is a networked device. The same security holes that enable jailbreaking, are security holes that can be used for malicious reasons as well. So a developer who is security minded needs to close remote execution holes at a minimum.

DRM is another issue, as insecurities in the device give other avenues of attack on the DRM scheme. Many companies have service agreements with content owners saying how quickly the manufacturer will fix security flaws in their devices and/or DRM. Usually if they don't, there is some sort of penalty (Apple's agreement with music providers seemed to indicate they could pull their entire catalogs from iTunes if Apple didn't fix certain types of holes in X days). So there's contractual obligations to secure their devices in many cases.

There's definitely an interesting topic here beneath the surface though. But that's more for another thread.

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Originally Posted by AZImmortal View Post
I'm guessing that it has to be intentional by design since even if they unintentionally disabled the jailbreak, they still have to go out of their way to wipe out your homebrew. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that if they just simply disabled the jailbreak, then the homebrew that you already have installed should still work. As far as the Sony readers go, I forgot that they also run Android, but yeah, the Nooks are definitely the golden child as far as the Android community is concerned.
It's simpler than that: updates are messy. Say I release a patch that only changes what needs to be changed to go from 1.0 to 1.1. But wait, my users made their own modifications to 1.0 so that it isn't really 1.0 anymore. What happens when my patch collides with those other modifications? Who knows. And it could be bad.

The very real reason why this could be bad is actually the very old 1.1 update Apple pushed out for the iPhone. The SIM unlock of the time collided badly with the delta patch of 1.1 and resulted in phones that no longer worked correctly (the baseband was essentially turned into gibberish by having both the unlock and the 1.1 patch applied).

So these days, many devices don't do delta updates anymore, or they do limited deltas. There just is no real way to test out all the possible hacks and how they can interfere with an update, so developers have gotten into the habit of making sure hacks/etc can't interfere with the update. The usual result is that it disables all the hacks as part of the upgrade, as a side-effect.

Last edited by Kolenka; 11-29-2012 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:30 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
DRM is another issue, as insecurities in the device give other avenues of attack on the DRM scheme. Many companies have service agreements with content owners saying how quickly the manufacturer will fix security flaws in their devices and/or DRM. Usually if they don't, there is some sort of penalty (Apple's agreement with music providers seemed to indicate they could pull their entire catalogs from iTunes if Apple didn't fix certain types of holes in X days). So there's contractual obligations to secure their devices in many cases.
Jailbreaking doesn't affect DRM at all though, so I don't think that this can really be considered a reason. It's possible to download a Kindle book without any involvement with an actual Kindle device and then strip the DRM on your computer. A jailbroken Kindle doesn't facilitate DRM removal in any way.

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Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
It's simpler than that: updates are messy. Say I release a patch that only changes what needs to be changed to go from 1.0 to 1.1. But wait, my users made their own modifications to 1.0 so that it isn't really 1.0 anymore. What happens when my patch collides with those other modifications? Who knows. And it could be bad.

The very real reason why this could be bad is actually the very old 1.1 update Apple pushed out for the iPhone. The SIM unlock of the time collided badly with the delta patch of 1.1 and resulted in phones that no longer worked correctly (the baseband was essentially turned into gibberish by having both the unlock and the 1.1 patch applied).

So these days, many devices don't do delta updates anymore, or they do limited deltas. There just is no real way to test out all the possible hacks and how they can interfere with an update, so developers have gotten into the habit of making sure hacks/etc can't interfere with the update. The usual result is that it disables all the hacks as part of the upgrade, as a side-effect.
Amazon had already been pushing updates that preserved jailbreaks and homebrew across all devices without problems for a long time now, so something is fundamentally different about this update. The developers in this forum have said that Amazon is purposely trying to prevent jailbreaking. To quote ixtab:

Quote:
So, you may have realized that with their 5.3.0 Firmware, Amazon has officially declared war on the developer scene, by plugging all currently known holes which allow to install the jailbreak, and by also wiping the jailbreak and all other user-installed modifications.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bartveld View Post
I've just bought a Kobo Glo. The fact that Amazon has sealed tight their PW with the latest upgrade and made hacking it even more difficult was the final straw... I'd like to say thanks to everyone here, especially to ixtab, NiLuJe and yifanlu, who made the Kindle the device it should have been all along.
Goodbye bartveld, and good luck with your new device!

You're absolutely right, with the latest 5.3.0 update Amazon has shown just how much they really despise and patronize their users. (or, if you prefer the whitewashed option... how Amazon really cares and tries hard to protect you from the gazillions of bad, bad influences coming from outside of the Amazon Ecosphere, by logging and monitoring all of the actions you perform on your Kindle... errrm... oh... of course, that's only to make sure that you get the bestest experience ever!).
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZImmortal View Post
Jailbreaking doesn't affect DRM at all though, so I don't think that this can really be considered a reason. It's possible to download a Kindle book without any involvement with an actual Kindle device and then strip the DRM on your computer. A jailbroken Kindle doesn't facilitate DRM removal in any way.
With the current weak DRM, yeah, that's true (hint, serial numbers are terrible passwords/keys). However, if a central authority issued per-device keys, then a jailbreak does expose those keys. It's also hard to say what exactly Amazon's agreements are, and if they might have changed.

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Originally Posted by AZImmortal View Post
Amazon had already been pushing updates that preserved jailbreaks and homebrew across all devices without problems for a long time now, so something is fundamentally different about this update. The developers in this forum have said that Amazon is purposely trying to prevent jailbreaking. To quote ixtab:
It's also the only update for the Paperwhite, a new device with a new fork of the Kindle code. It's completely possible that the update mechanism has changed for the Paperwhite. I'll also note that folks have already pointed out that the 5.3.0 update is a full restore update, not an incremental. I don't believe that Amazon is explicitly "declaring war" on homebrew here, much like I don't believe they were doing anything to "preserve" it. It's more that they didn't care and didn't go out of their way to break it. But in general, small diff patches are more prone to problems and quirks than just paving and installing the boot partition fresh.

Keep in mind that folks like ixtab are speculating just like I am here. The outlook I have is a bit different, working at a company that deals with portable devices on the software side. I find the attribution of malice to things that companies do that us tweakers don't like a bit strange. Although I'll admit that trust is hard to earn, and paranoia is a trait that is hard to get rid of. Not that I'm saying we should trust Amazon or any company (a large company at best, is a giant personality disorder that spits out products into a market place). But with all these evil companies, you'd think we were all out to kill our neighbors (and our source of income).

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Originally Posted by ixtab View Post
You're absolutely right, with the latest 5.3.0 update Amazon has shown just how much they really despise and patronize their users.
I'm curious though, has anyone confirmed what Amazon does with all this telemetry coming from the device? Or taken note on how much non-anonymized data is sent back? I don't see specific markers in the snippets that are thrown around that would identify a user, but it sure does track behavior. It looks very much like the user telemetry that apps like Office have to figure out what features are being used, and which ones aren't.

And I'm also curious, just how many Kindle users even care about the homebrew? Are we a small enough group that Amazon simply doesn't care about us and will do things without any consideration for how it affects homebrew? I know that anyone tech-saavy enough to tweak these devices is in a fairly small minority of users as it is.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:23 PM   #21
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5.0.x were incremental updates with using of binary pathces. 5.1.0 contained whole new files and just copied them into place. Could you note the pattern? There wasn't 5.2.0 update (just like there wasn't 5.0.0 update). And 5.3.0 just pushing the idea to the extreme and copying whole new filesystem and kernel images over the old ones.

Maybe it was just easier to distribute whole rootfs instead of specific patches/files?

But, BTW, expect whole new Kindle going OTA right to you with 5.4.0.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:07 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
It's also the only update for the Paperwhite, a new device with a new fork of the Kindle code. It's completely possible that the update mechanism has changed for the Paperwhite. I'll also note that folks have already pointed out that the 5.3.0 update is a full restore update, not an incremental. I don't believe that Amazon is explicitly "declaring war" on homebrew here, much like I don't believe they were doing anything to "preserve" it. It's more that they didn't care and didn't go out of their way to break it. But in general, small diff patches are more prone to problems and quirks than just paving and installing the boot partition fresh.
Yes, and no.

Of course, Amazon is improving their product with every version. And of course, they are free to replace the entire system partition with a full image (as they did with the 5.3.0 update). That "full wipe" also had the side effect of removing the jailbreak (which is in fact just a simple key file, allowing to "approve" packages to be installed)...

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Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
Keep in mind that folks like ixtab are speculating just like I am here.
Well... before I answer: thanks for your objective contributions. These things get emotional very fast, and I really appreciate that you're sticking to the facts.

Nevertheless, I think that I'm in a better position to judge than you are, simply because I've followed, and had been involved, in the development from the start... So let's take a look at the Kindle Touch / Paperwhite history.
BTW, you can follow much of it by simply looking at the Jailbreak section of the Kindle Touch Wiki.
  • Version 5.0.0 and 5.0.1: these versions were vulnerable to a serious security vulnerability discovered by yifanlu. In short, any .mp3 could compromise the Kindle. That hole was closed, because it was dangerous.
  • Version 5.1.0 and 5.1.1: Amazon intermittently introduced an even more severe vulnerability (discovered by eureka), so that every website could compromise Kindles. This was closed with 5.1.2, because it was really dangerous.
  • Versions between 5.0.2 and 5.2.0 (yes, 5.2.0 is the first version of the PW): These versions are vulnerable to a bug which only manifests itself when a particular file is knowingly placed on the user-controlled storage space of the Kindle. In other words: the user had to explicitly PUT this file there (there is absolutely no way that it could "inadvertently" end up there).
  • Version 5.3.0: Amazon has both closed ALL previous jailbreak possibilities, and removed any existing jailbreak. They have closed the last possibility of executing user-defined code. Even though the last jailbreak was no security risk at all, they decided to render it impossible.
So, while I agree with regard to the serious vulnerabilities - why don't they just let us (developers, and users alike) play and enhance their device?

The data.tar.gz/data.stgz "thing" is no threat to them at all. Developers enjoy to play around with their devices and see what they can do - and they might actually come up with actual enhancements. I consider Collections Manager to be much better than what the KT/PW provides, and many people agree.

It would have been soooooooo easy for Amazon to keep the Status quo: they could simply overwrite the main partition. Nobody would have complained, and everyone would have been happy, if they had kept the previously existing modding possibilities.

But what they did was to overwrite the main partition, AND they explicitly blocked any known method to get access to it again. And they knew exactly what they were doing (heck, they probably wouldn't even have KNOWN about the issues without this forum!). ...Which was a glaring middle finger at the developer community here. So yes, Amazon is reading these forums, and is explicitly shooting at us. Nobody here really wanted this, because we all appreciated Amazon. I don't know why they see us as enemies.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolenka View Post
I'm curious though, has anyone confirmed what Amazon does with all this telemetry coming from the device? Or taken note on how much non-anonymized data is sent back?
Yes. My entire log file. EVERYTHING. Is that enough to make you suspicious?

No, I don't know how much of that log file Amazon really reads or evaluates. I can't control it. Even if they directly throw it away: why on earth are they asking for the log file of everything that I do on my Kindle in the first place?

Last edited by ixtab; 11-29-2012 at 11:48 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ixtab View Post
[*]Versions between 5.0.2 and 5.2.0 (yes, 5.2.0 is the first version of the PW): These versions are vulnerable to a bug which only manifests itself when a particular file is knowingly placed on the user-controlled storage space of the Kindle. In other words: the user had to explicitly PUT this file there (there is absolutely no way that it could "inadvertently" end up there).
I wouldn't say that there is no security threat here. What if the owner is tricked into placing a malicious file onto the Kindle? Could an infected computer look for a Kindle to be connected via USB and write the malicious file without the user's knowledge? How many users have even considered the possibility that their Kindles could be hijacked?
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
Have you tried using your Kindle for reading instead of just hacking? It is actually very good at it's primary function. You (the OP) didn't even say why you wanted to hack it. What features did you feel that the PW lacked? And did you buy the Glo because it had those features or you were only interested in hacking devices and not that much in using them?
Yes, I've seen those "why-don't-you-stop-whining-and-read" reactions before. I use an ereader to read, certainly. I happen to be very picky when it comes to fonts and all standard fonts on the Kindle are ugly. The only way to use your own font is to hack the device (ixtab made a brilliant hack for the KT).
And then the Glo: create a dir named "fonts", put in your font and bingo!
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:00 AM   #25
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Yes, I've seen those "why-don't-you-stop-whining-and-read" reactions before. I use an ereader to read, certainly. I happen to be very picky when it comes to fonts and all standard fonts on the Kindle are ugly. The only way to use your own font is to hack the device (ixtab made a brilliant hack for the KT).
And then the Glo: create a dir named "fonts", put in your font and bingo!
Wow! you really are picky. Well enjoy the new toy and would love to have feedback on it.
I am one of those people who wouldn't know a 'jail-break' if it came up and bit me on the bum. Technically minded I am not. So I am not one who can talk about this with full understanding. Nor do I care to, as all I wish do on my K3 is read. I think, that in general, I represent a majority of the members here. Yes would like a little more control over organising my books, but all in all just want a good e-reader. Which the Kindle is.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:47 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Fluribus View Post
I wouldn't say that there is no security threat here. What if the owner is tricked into placing a malicious file onto the Kindle? Could an infected computer look for a Kindle to be connected via USB and write the malicious file without the user's knowledge? How many users have even considered the possibility that their Kindles could be hijacked?
Reality check: while this is theoretically possible, it would be targeting such a "niche market" that it's simply not worth the effort from an attacker's point of view.

Anyway, I'm currently looking into how 5.3.0 can be jailbroken. I'm not entirely there yet, but I did find a vector* which requires manual user intervention (interaction ON the device screen), no way to automate it. Would that qualify as "benign and safe enough" for you? If so, would you agree that Amazon should leave that little loophole in? And do you think they will?

(*) No, I'm not going to disclose anything right now, no need to ask.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:50 AM   #27
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Wow! you really are picky. Well enjoy the new toy and would love to have feedback on it.
I am one of those people who wouldn't know a 'jail-break' if it came up and bit me on the bum. Technically minded I am not. So I am not one who can talk about this with full understanding. Nor do I care to, as all I wish do on my K3 is read. I think, that in general, I represent a majority of the members here. Yes would like a little more control over organising my books, but all in all just want a good e-reader. Which the Kindle is.
That's perfectly fine. Nobody forces anyone to jailbreak or "mod" their device. But those who want to take advantage of the many enhancements that can be installed on a jailbroken device should be able to do so. As simple as that
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:06 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ixtab View Post
Reality check: while this is theoretically possible, it would be targeting such a "niche market" that it's simply not worth the effort from an attacker's point of view.

Anyway, I'm currently looking into how 5.3.0 can be jailbroken. I'm not entirely there yet, but I did find a vector* which requires manual user intervention (interaction ON the device screen), no way to automate it. Would that qualify as "benign and safe enough" for you? If so, would you agree that Amazon should leave that little loophole in? And do you think they will?

(*) No, I'm not going to disclose anything right now, no need to ask.
Nice. Keep working on it. User interaction would be a safe enough venture - unless what it says on the screen is misleading. You could also run a brute-force in background to find the key ...
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #29
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Nice. Keep working on it. User interaction would be a safe enough venture - unless what it says on the screen is misleading. You could also run a brute-force in background to find the key ...
You mean Amazon's private key? Yeah, if we use all the computers in the world (minus Amazon's, who know the key - because that would be cheating), we could maybe be done in a couple of million years

http://www.digicert.com/TimeTravel/
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:48 AM   #30
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You mean Amazon's private key? Yeah, if we use all the computers in the world (minus Amazon's, who know the key - because that would be cheating), we could maybe be done in a couple of million years

http://www.digicert.com/TimeTravel/
You got to be kidding me (of course you are not) - a damn 2k bit key? Hey, my key is bigger than your key. Hey Amazon, I lost my key, can I have yours? It is cold out here!

Scratch that one, next one: open up kindle and hardware hack the memory.
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