April 29, 2013 weblog
Google Glass hacked and rooted—Google claims it was the plan all along
(Phys.org) —Just days after landing in the hands of developer's, Google Glass has been hacked and rooted by at least two well known "hackers." The first comes courtesy of Jay Freeman, who most know online as Saurik. He claims in a Twitter post that he was able to get root within two hours of receiving the device while having dinner with friends. Another well known hacker, Liam McLoughlin also announced he'd hacked the device. Neither development is a surprise to Google apparently, as shortly after Freeman and McLoughlin boasted about their success in circumventing Google Glasses' security measures, Google technical lead on the project Stephen Lau, posted a statement saying that Google had left the device easily hacked for the benefit of developers. Another staffer at Google, Tim Bray, in responding to news of the hacking tweeted simply, "Duh."
There is no denying that Google Glass has generated a lot of buzz—some consider it a game changer on the order of the introduction of the first iPhone. Along with that buzz, however, has come concern that the new device might present a privacy problem. Some establishments have already banned them, despite the fact that they have not yet been released to the public. The concern is in how the devices might be used. An application could, for example, be written and used that allows someone to count cards at a casino. For that reason, Google has chosen to make the device more difficult to hack than phone's that run the same operating system—Android version 4.04, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. They've also "bricked" the device which means Google can remotely disable the device—permanently—if the user/owner uses it an a way that Google prohibits, which presumably would mean trying to jail-break the device to allow root access, and thereby unrestricted application use.
What's not clear at this time, however, is just how secure the device will be once Google releases it to the general public. The version sold to developers (for $1500 apiece), called the Explorer Edition was made available to developers to allow for apps development prior to general release. In his post, Lau encouraged all developers to "go crazy with it" suggesting that Google is benefiting from its new device being hacked—doing so means security problems are being found that Google can fix before making Glass available to everyone else.
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