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Four Risks of Rooting Your iPhone or Android Device

Wait… Remind Me Again, What’s Rooting?

Rooting is the process of taking existing firmware from a phone and replacing it with a more customized operating system.

The main reason people choose to root their device is for the freedom and control of the device. Once rooted, the system may be tweaked to your liking. Users with rooted devices can gain improved performance, more application choice, tethering and the freedom toalter system files. Rooting your iphone or Android can be a fun experience; however, there are many potential issues that you should be aware of such as:

1. Rooting your iPhone or Android Voids the Warranty

With so many manufacturing issues, smart phones are often faulty or dead upon purchase, so to keep angry mobs at bay, most suppliers offer warranties upon purchase.

Let’s say you decide to root your iphone or Android. One week later, the phone dies because of a non-functional camera implemented by the provider. You take your phone to an Apple store expecting a repair – too bad, they won’t touch it. Altering the phone’s operating system compromises the limited time warranty. You should be able to restore an iPhone to its original state by finding a stock ROM or the original firmware; however, this might be an extremely difficult and daunting process, especially for someone who is not technical.

Note: As of January 28, 2013, Rooting and Jailbreaking devices are deemed illegal by the DMCA

2. Opens Security Risks

Rooting your iphone or Android also opens up more security risks because you can download apps that have access to files that would normally be hidden from them. You are also lacking constant security updates that the original OS would otherwise be carrying out. There have been instances where rooted phones have allowed the patching of a known security risk. While this scenario is rare, be advised, it could happen to you!

3. Bricking your device

Rooting your iphone or Android device could potentially damage or even “brick” your phone. Bricking your device means that it’s completely non-functional—similar to a concrete brick. There are ways to fix certain issues on the device; however, it can be an intricate task.

4. Boot Looping

If you’re not careful when rooting your iphone or Android device, it could result in a “Boot Loop.” Consider someone who is extremely lazy. In a seemingly endless cycle his life would be: wakeup, sleep, wakeup, sleep, wakeup and so on – nothing gets done. Boot Looping is essentially the phone equivalent of laziness: it doesn’t do anything but wake up and go to sleep.

Any time you cause your phone to do things that it was not designed to do (even if those things may be improvements) you run the risk of having it act in an unexpected manner. Sometimes “smart” phones aren’t all that smart. If it doesn’t understand what is going on, it might panic and go into a boot loop. Once a phone is boot looping, there is very little you can do to fix this issue; however, there has been a few custom fixes known to revert the problem.

There are definitely risks associated with rooting your device, however, the chances of running into such problems are greatly reduced provided that you follow instructions properly. The most important part of rooting/jail breaking devices is to do your research!

The post Four Risks of Rooting Your iPhone or Android Device appeared first on Hurricane Labs.

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Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.