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Friday, August 06, 2010, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Browser-based 'jailbreak' website blocked at Apple retail stores

After a number of pranksters uploaded videos of themselves "jailbreaking" demo iOS devices on display at Apple's retail stores, the company has blocked access to the website from its networks.

The jailbreakme.com URL is used to conduct a browser-based jailbreak of iOS devices — the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch — by taking advantage of a PDF security hole found in the Mobile Safari browser. Users jailbreak devices to run unauthorized software and make modifications to the iOS operating system that can potentially void the warranty of the device.

Soon after the jailbreak was released this week, some users began uploading videos of themselves to YouTube, completing the process and vandalizing equipment in an Apple store while attempting to conceal their efforts from the retail employees.

Apple quickly caught on to their efforts, however, and reports from others who attempted the act now say that the company has banned access to the jailbreakme.com website on Wi-Fi networks at its stores.

While the jailbreak process is legal and carries no malicious intent, the exploit utilized to crack the iOS 4 operating system is potentially dangerous and could be used to give a nefarious hacker remote control of someone's phone by simply getting them to visit a website on their phone. Apple this week revealed that it already has a fix in place for the PDF exploit, and it will be included in a forthcoming update to iOS devices.