Wow! Microsoft actually applauds the Windows RT jailbreak hack
Yesterday I reported on a jailbreak method that allows Windows RT users to run unsigned apps on their tablets. And usually, after hacks are made public, large software companies promptly respond by issuing updates to reign in the rebels or release vague, almost standardized, PR statements to reassure customers. But that's not Microsoft's response. The Redmond, Wash.-based corporation actually commends "the folks" that uncovered the hack.
The developer that goes by the name "clrokr" says that the hack is only possible because Microsoft did not patch a vulnerability in the NT kernel, which was later carried over to Windows RT. The software giant, however, begs to differ and says that the documented jailbreak method does not represent a security vulnerability.
A Microsoft spokesperson stated the following for BetaNews:
The scenario outlined is not a security vulnerability and does not pose a threat to Windows RT users. The mechanism described is not something the average user could, or reasonably would, leverage as it requires local access to a system, local administration rights and a debugger in order to work. In addition, the Windows Store is the only supported method for customers to install applications for Windows RT. There are mechanisms in place to scan for security threats and help ensure that apps from the Store are legitimate and can be acquired and used with confidence.
We applaud the ingenuity of the folks who worked this out and the hard work they did to document it. We’ll not guarantee these approaches will be there in future releases.
Basically Microsoft suggests that even if malware were to be designed as to exploit said workaround, or hacking method if you will, Windows RT users will remain unaffected by it. The software giant also confirms what I previously stated that, in order to actually jailbreak the tablet operating system, users would need to have advanced knowledge in working with the Windows Debugger (shortly named WinDbg) and Microsoft's ARM Assember.
That rules out the majority of Windows users, and many power users as well. Furthermore, at this point the hacking method is nothing more than a technological exercise, showcasing that it can be done, with no imminent threat to Microsoft's profits from Windows Store sales.
Microsoft plays it smart by applauding the "ingenuity of the folks who worked this out" as well as the "hard work" put into uncovering the hack and documenting it. The company would better keep the same open attitude towards modding and jailbreaking, as both even if they are of the "underground" sort do imply a connection with actual sales through committed users.
There is a whole community dedicated to finding security exploits in order to root devices, like Android has, or as is the case with Apple-branded devices a large user base determined to get more features into a mature software product.
The software company says that the method to run unsigned apps may soon be sent into oblivion but really, what does Microsoft have to lose by leaving a tiny door open?