Windows Phone 7 unlocker released

I admit that I hesitate a bit before posting this given that I’m not really into promoting hacking or piracy. So there’s a small tool that was released 2 hours ago that will enable any Windows Phone 7 user to “unlock” his device and side-load any application on it. The official and legal way to do this is to register as a developer and pay $99/y. So what’s the big deal here other than having the ability to side-load (currently via Visual Studio) any application son any WP7? Well this looks like the beginning of a big mess folks. First off Microsoft, thanks to its PVK system, can detect and ban all the devices unlocked with this method (yeah re-locking it afterwards won’t help you if you Device ID is blacklisted). Secondly, couple this new unlocker with the security issue of the curent Marketplace (anyone can freely download an app directly from the marketplace by bypassing the Zune software and decompile the code even if it was obfuscated by the developer..) and we are now in piracy heaven… Anyway, it’s up to you to decide if you want to unlock your device this way at the risk of being blocked by MS (if they decide to take this route) but I won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future “fix” this potential security hole.  I’m all for tweaking your device etc (hey I actually found out how to enable USB drive mode on Window Phone 7! remember?) , but I’m still unsure about this one…The ChevronWP7 unlocker can be found here. BTW, anyone find this “strange” that this  stuff gets released now on Thanksgiving just when most of the MS employees are on holyday leave?

  • vangrieg

    What makes you think this may be detected in any way? Do you know how the hack works? Do you know whether it even modifies anything on the device apart from installing a certificate, which is perfectly fine? It may well just intercept the connection to MS servers while connecting to VS for installing apps on your PC.

  • battl3cat

    I’m not sure (since i dont have a phone to test it), but it is not possible to install an app found using the “Zune breach” even for registered developpers. So it wont lead to piracy.

    But at least it’s a first step to a “cydia store”, since it allows to run every app/hack that cannot be submitted to the marketplace, like augmented reality apps, voip apps, probably some hacks to change the default search engine, etc.

  • MobileTechWorld

    Yup apps downloaded via the Zune Marketplace breach can’t be directly side-loaded because they are digitally signed. but there’s a fairly easy way (that I won’t discuss here) to bypass this..
    Just to be clear, I’m not against homebrew apps etc… It’s just that we don’t know yet how Microsoft is going toreact to this so do it at your own risks… BTW the argument about Augmented Reality aps etc blabla isn’t a big deal at all. There are no AR apps now (other that ScanSearch) because Microsoft didn’t finish the APIs yet, not because they don’t want developers to build such apps. Once they give 3rd party devs access the compass API and raw camera feed you will see a flood of AR apps in the Marketplace. This shouldn’t take long..

  • battl3cat

    Thanks for your reply

    I didn’t know the signature would be so easy to bypass (as a developper it still bothers me that Microsoft hasn’t solved this problem yet…)
    For the undocumented/not ready yet API, i agree it wasn’t a good example. I hope MS won’t take long to finish them
    But still, besides piracy, Jailbreak and Cydia had enabled devs to share some pretty good and handy apps that couldn’t be allowed to the AppStore.

  • Long Zheng

    Please read the update “Our stance on piracy”

  • Anonymous

    For me, I agree with the author and the objection to piracy. However, I believe this tool will be usefull for loading applications that are freeware or public domain and which are not in the marketplace or would not be approved by Microsoft for the marketplace.

    Here is a good example of such an application: WiFi Router. The carriers don’t want us to have tethering capability, but addition of a WiFi router type program to utilize the built-in tethering features would be a great candidate for side loading.

    What other ideas do people have for potential useful applications which can be sideloaded?