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Discuss Running Apps in the Background at the iOS 4.x (iPhone OS 4.x) - Hackint0sh.org; Hi all, New here and am working on an app that, for security purposes, need ...
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    Default Running Apps in the Background

    Hi all,

    New here and am working on an app that, for security purposes, need to be run in the background. Also would have to be inaccessible from End User's normal privileges.

    Basically, I'm a Jr. Security Admin and, preferably would like to have an application which could run in the background, but the User would not be able to shut off. Also, cannot jailbreak it. Would prefer to find a way to root, then unroot w/o Jailbreak or perhaps a method to just give the application root privileges without shell?

    Any advice is appreciated.



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    Super Moderator Array Olethros's Avatar

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    You don't know what you are talking about.

    With the exception of the iPad2 - all other iOS devices have bootrom level exploits that mean anyone with physical access can jailbreak the device. There is NO way to block the ability for a user to jailbreak their own device via software.

    Even then, a user can always restore the device themselves and this will remove any changes you might have made to the device.

    The rest (an app that runs without a shell or UI) is easy enough to write - but it isn't enough to simply "get root" you need to find a way around the sandboxing and binary signing restrictions imposed by Apple, this is part of the "jailbreak" process.
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    And what that "app that, for security purposes, need to be run in the background [...] inaccessible from End User's normal privileges" might be? Is it just me or that doesn't sound right? Basically, you're asking help in placing spyware on somebody else's phone. This is almost always The Wrong Way(tm) to deal with a security problem. Security Admin, you say?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dborca View Post
    And what that "app that, for security purposes, need to be run in the background [...] inaccessible from End User's normal privileges" might be? Is it just me or that doesn't sound right? Basically, you're asking help in placing spyware on somebody else's phone. This is almost always The Wrong Way(tm) to deal with a security problem. Security Admin, you say?
    I can see it from both perspectives. As I used to IT Direct a 13,000 person organization with approximately 7,000 Blackberries and 2,000 iPhones, I can appreciate the desire to have something like Telenav Track installed on an iPhone. Though the original poster doesn't make it clear his intentions, I can definitely see the benefit to having a company-specific IT management application on the phone (so long as it's company specific). This is something that Apple supports as well, as corporate customers have the capability of writing company specific apps and registering their users on Apple's site so that the company can push a non-App Store approved app to their employees.

    That said, your request to have something that provides a root-level access in the background is something that Apple won't approve (for obvious reasons), so you won't be able to use the Corporate App program to do what you're looking for. Beyond that, it's not really possible to jailbreak the phone without allowing the user access to the jailbreak. Sure, you can remove Cydia, etc., but the fact of the matter is that once jailbroken, there are restrictions that have been removed from the device -- unless you wrote something that implemented those restrictions and had it run.

    In any case, I think the simple answer is that nothing exists to do what you're trying to do at present, and programming something that would complete what you're asking would require seriously advanced jailbreak and programming knowledge -- you'd effectively need to write your own jailbreak application (using the available jailbreak methods) that specifically did what you wanted. This would require fairly high level knowledge of iOS programming, Windows/Mac programming (for the actual jailbreak software if you didn't choose to do it on-device), as well as fairly in-depth knowledge of the jailbreak exploit that you chose to write your program around. Beyond that, you would still need physical access to the device at least one time in order to jailbreak it, even if you used something like Jailbreakme.com and made it a browser based jailbreak (unless you blatantly lied to your users and sent them a link and told them to click it without clearly explaining what would be done, which is morally reprehensible, even for an admin).
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    Quote Originally Posted by n1ckn4m3 View Post
    I can see it from both perspectives.
    Placing spyware on people's phones is wrong, no matter what. The fact that company ACME uses that to control their employees doesn't make it right.

    You are a company and you have problems with some of your employees? Bind them with a few contractual clauses and punish those who break them. They have the choice to sign the contract (and stay) or not sign it (and leave).

    Are those phones company property? OK: place a visible app on the phone and tell people that app is not supposed to be deleted ever. Are those phones employee property? LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE. Unless you're helping/managing them remotely, in which case they'd want that app in the first place.

    Perhaps a silly analogy: my car is not permanently monitored (by the authorities) for speeding. But if I get caught, I pay the fine and/or have my license suspended. This system works.

    "Morally correct" is obsolete and optional as long as everybody's "politically correct" around here? I'd like to think this forum does not support invading privacy. If one is set to do that anyway, so be it. But then he should be doing his dirty job by himself.


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    @dborca I completely agree with you, use visible deterrents ensure that the introduction of any new monitoring tools is clearly communicated to employees (in writing). Punish employee non compliance via contractual clauses. Involve the appropriate law enforcement authority if there is a suspicion that the issue might be a criminal matter.

    This brings up the only case where I can see a valid reason to monitor (in an undetectable manner). This is if it was performed by law enforcement as part of an active criminal investigation (and thus subject to the checks and approvals of the legal system).
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    Super Moderator Array n1ckn4m3's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by dborca View Post
    Placing spyware on people's phones is wrong, no matter what. The fact that company ACME uses that to control their employees doesn't make it right.
    If the company paid for the phone, it's theirs -- not yours.. I think that's where your and my opinions differ. If it's your phone, then I agree, but I support an organization's right to manage and maintain the equipment they provide for their employees to use. In any case, the good news is that nothing like this exists .
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    Quote Originally Posted by n1ckn4m3 View Post
    If the company paid for the phone, it's theirs -- not yours.. I think that's where your and my opinions differ.
    It's still a trojan (the metaphor, not the condom), infringing one basic human right: privacy. As I said, the company can find more ethical ways to solve this issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by n1ckn4m3 View Post
    In any case, the good news is that nothing like this exists .
    Fortunately, might I add.

    In any case, this thread degenerated and adds nothing to the technical value of this forum. I bet the OP is already on other pastures. I'm just dismayed that some people around here condone privacy invading practices.

    @Olethros: yes, you have a valid point about criminal cases. But even in such cases, surveillance can be done (and probably is) on the carrier side, also regulated by law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dborca View Post
    It's still a trojan (the metaphor, not the condom), infringing one basic human right: privacy.
    Unfortunately, when a company provides you equipment to use, the Supreme Court of the US has repeatedly ruled that you have zero right to any semblance of privacy from the company while using it. Their money, their equipment, etc. It's not immoral nor is it unethical for the company to protect their information, interests, and confidentiality of their data by monitoring and managing the device that they provide for your use. When they pay for it, it is their device in your care -- not your device.

    I don't disagree with the principal of your posts, but ultimately the person paying the bill and who paid for the device (in the eyes of the law, in the US) has every right to monitor that device in any way they see fit. If it is a strong moral stance, than if ever presented with the situation where you are provided a device that does not uphold to your privacy concerns, you have every right to either seek alternate employment or (if possible) refuse assignment of the device.

    It's for this very reason alone that I have always had a personal phone that was my very own and will use a company assigned device when they assign one, only for company related business.
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    Super Moderator Array Olethros's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by dborca View Post
    @Olethros: yes, you have a valid point about criminal cases. But even in such cases, surveillance can be done (and probably is) on the carrier side, also regulated by law.
    Yeah for monitoring telephony/data traffic it's likely best done on the carrier side. However if they had a need to monitor other activity on the iPhone (that didn't involve any transmission to/from carrier) or traffic via Wifi - then I guess law enforcement might have a legal justification for undetectable monitoring directly on the phone.
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