Hackers hoping to find a permanent way to gain super-user level access to their T-Mobile G2 Android-powered smartphone will have a fight on their hands, with the network confirming the kill-switch functionality.
As we reported yesterday, hackers attempting to 'root' the T-Mobile G2, in order to unlock additional features or bypass restrictions in the Android OS, discovered that their hard work was being automatically undone by the handset. Each time they developed a method of gaining access, the device would reset and return to stock settings.
T-Mobile has now broken cover and confirmed that this functionality is there by design, and that it has no plans to make life easier for those who believe that once they've bought a device they should have the right to do with it as they choose.
In a statement, the mobile provider confirmed, "The HTC software implementation on the G2 stores some components in read-only memory as a security measure to prevent key operating system software from becoming corrupted and rendering the device inoperable," which means that there is no way for unofficial software to modify these components - without which a permanent 'root' cannot be achieved.
T-Mobile went on to acknowledge, "There is a small subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level," but warned that, "a side effect of HTC’s security measure is that these modifications are temporary and cannot be saved to permanent memory" - meaning tough luck.
While T-Mobile and hardware partner HTC might have the upper hand for now, it would be a remarkable achievement if the block on a permanent modification stood: many manufacturers have tried to lock out the tinkerers and hackers over the years, and very few have succeeded.
For now, however, it looks like G2 owners will have to be content with the stock software.