Gábor Török, senior mobile software engineer who has been involved in S60 platform development since 2000, posted interesting article on his blog. Title of this post is “Symbian Platform Security – hacked?” and it links to another couple blogs and Web pages with related resources.
With couple of not so complex steps (if you are familiar with programming and Symbian), you can change firmware and flash your phone. Then you have such a phone (software) that allows you to give so powerful rights to any 3rd party application that they can do basically anything on the device. It uses great S60 program, Y-Browser with added AllFiles capability to the program so that he could explore the entire file system, which he hadn’t been able to do until then.
Gábor says that it is not clear why did Symbian publish such a confidential information that is useful solely for phone manufacturers? Also he says that the documentation of Software Installation Policy is a very internal thing. You can see that it’s enough if one talented person stumbles upon that documentation and uses it. Also, why is a firmware package in such a format that anyone can edit it?
There is also interesting article at Antony’s Mobile Blog. It confirms that hack solution works. Manko from Symbaali has demonstrated how he can access protected folders on the phone. Antony believes that Symbian or Nokia will come with a counter-hack pretty soon. It is going to be very interesting to watch next steps.
Hopefully, this will be fixed with another firmware update that we will not wait too long. Also, this shows that mobile phones and other PDA devices is new arena for security battles.
Remark: Thanks to Robert B. for pointing me to this excellent article.