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Kill Switch

Steve Jobs reveals Apple have one for their iPhone.


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CUPERTINO (Wall Street Journal) -- Steve Jobs confirms Apple have a 'kill switch' to neutralise iPhone software they don't like but insists it will only be used to eliminate malware.

Whether this will placate concerned users remains to be seen.

Dan Moren of Macworld astutely points out no one may have actually found the 'switch' yet anyway.

'Note that this does not necessarily mean the core location blacklist is the 'lever' that Jobs refers to; there could very well be a separate mechanism elsewhere in the iPhone's software.'

Good guess.

But now Moren waxes sharp.

'While such a function might very well be necessary to prevent malicious applications, it also may raise potential dangers from other malicious vectors if it isn't well secured.'

Jonathan Zdziarski who discovered the much talked about blacklist was able to use it to trick his iPhone into terminating applications; other tricks are sure to follow.

The worst part of wacky ideas is always how they're implemented - just ask Windows users or people who were busted by Sony's DRM idiocy.

How Do You Feel?

Moren also asks who's going to define 'malware' and who's going to force Apple to stick to such a use. He goes on to encourage readers to offer their opinions.

'How do you feel about Apple having the power of life and death over the applications on your iPhone?

Some of the comments to Moren's article follow; offer your own at the Rixstep/7 forum.

I thinks having a Kill Switch is fine. With all of the idiots in this world, sooner or later it will be needed.

Seems like a variation of the kill switch was considered a desirable feature for Enterprise Clients. They wanted a way to erase the entire device, not just one app, if it came up missing or stolen. I thought iPhone 2.0 software had that feature. The fact that any variation of a 'kill switch' was so easily compromised is the scary part.

I'm fine with it until Apple proves they shouldn't have that power. Until then any doomsday scenario is mere speculation - mostly by people who have nothing good to say about Apple to begin with.

See Also
WSJ: iPhone Software Sales Take Off - Apple's Jobs
Macworld: Jobs confirms iPhone application 'kill switch'

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