Freedom Hacking Technology

The Idiots Guide to Jailbreaking the iPad

Yes I know there are loads of other better guides out there, this post is to help point out where all the useful info is.

So because I’m so filthy rich I decided to buy an iPad for myself. Yes I’ve wanted some sort of ebook device for a while, and you can’t really beat Apple when it comes to quality and hack-satisfaction-level. I’ve been impatient with the Apple/Core Group/Vodacom festering ringworm and their inability to get the iPad imported officially, and so decided to just jump the gun and get one through the usual covert channels. Looking at and was all good and well, but I’d made the impulsive decision and wanted the device on the same day, no wait, I wanted it in under an hour, not in 15 days time. Enter They had the stock (it was on special), they were willing to take my money, and I could get it from them within an hour or two.

Pay, drive, collect. 1 times iPad be mine!

So what the hell does one do to make the iPad(or any iOS device) truly worthwhile? You jailbreak it! Now? Yes, before you start loading crap and then then something fucks out that you have to restore the default settings and reconfigure all your apps again. Well firstly DO NOT UPDATE to the latest official firmware – that stops the  jailbreak option dead. Instead head on over to with Safari on your device (preferably on a stable WiFi connection) and slide your finger to run the jailbreak. Then wait. Be patient. It will work. Just wait.


So what does jailbreak mean? It installs an app called Cydia which allows you to install other unofficial applications on your device.Those that aren’t in the Apple store. And Cydia also allows those extra features like multitasking and shortcuts to settings.

And if you add Installous into Cydia you can get legitimate apps (to try before you buy, of course).

But more on those tweaks later.

Let’s get your Gmail working properly on the iPad. (More here, and here’s what I mean by “properly”) iOS 4 actually fixes this crap, but the iPad is still iOS3.

Then sync your Google Calendar(s) with your iPad.

Install Firefox Home to get your bookmarks and open tabs syncing for later reading from the iPad.

Install VLC from the Apple store cos its the best media player in the business.

Back to Cydia. Here’s a list of Cydia jailbreak apps that work with the iPad. Ignore most of them for now.

Apps you do want from Cydia: (Install them in this order or you may have to restart from scratch)

iFile, Openssh, Installous, SBSettings, Backgrounder.

iFile allows you to browse files and directories on the device (windows explorer like). You need this app to edit a file to correct a bug with the openssh install, which disables the location tool.

Openssh lets you ssh into the iPad over the wireless interface. When you install this your device now runs an SSH server. Once the install is completed go change the default ‘root’ and ‘mobile’ passwords. The default password is ‘alpine’. Make it your own. (Details here.)

Installing OpenSSH will probably break location based services, but here’s how to fix that:
using iFile, go to
and change the false under OnDemand to true.
Save and reboot the iPad (Hold home key and lock key for a while). (Info here)

Next you can add SBSettings and Backgrounder. For these two there is a package called MobileSubstrate which gets installed and this tends to cause the iPad to hang with a spinning wheel of death. This gives you two options:

1) Uninstall the packages over WiFi and SSH

2) Hard reset (Hold home button and lock button)

I first tried installing Backgrounder and the iPad hung, so I uninstalled manually from the command line. Those Backgrounder unbricking instructions are here.

Later I decided I still wanted Backgrounder so I first installed SBSettings (which installed the MobileSubstrate). This sort of hung so I waited a while before performing a hard reset. After a slowish boot everything was back to normal and all was well with SBSettings installed and working. I then installed Backgrounder and it behaved nicely. Yay!

Remember your mileage may vary – I can’t guarantee any of this will work on your iPad, but this is the success I have achieved with just the smallest amount of research and a bit of confidence.Just remember to read what it says on the screen and you’ll be fine.

From here on in you can continue to load more apps, games and books and just get more from your iPad experience.

Hacking Humor Technology

Gauteng Department of Local Government Site Hacked

News of the day is that the script kiddies have gotten hold of the admin passwords for Gauteng’s Department of Local Government content management system and decided to add some Arabic flavour.  A message “Hacked by CeCeN Hack Team” now greets visitors to the previously unknown site. The message extends further with:

“Allahu Ekber! denmark israel asshole Americas – 45 thousand people will give account – Hooray Chechnya”.

I like the background music though – that was a nice touch! Visit the site here or a screengrab here if it gets switched off.

Elaborate hoax
Industry experts, however, are calling the hack “an elaborate hoax”. Some claim the “hack” is simply a carefully crafted “viral marketing campaign” to try and get the website its first visitor. South Africa, they say, with a mere 400 000 broadband subscribers, simply has not had the internet penetration that would see people visiting a bland local government website instead of getting their usual facebook fix, and so a drastic approach was developed to pump up the traffic to the government site.

Only time will tell if the approach works, or if the site will simply return to its previous anonymity.

Hacking Security Technology

Ph33r the D0n th4t i5 LowVoltage [FUD]

Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s one that’s good for a laugh. This ‘LowVoltage’ guy sounds pretty evil. Shew!

The ‘Low Voltage’ hackers

He runs with the name “Low Voltage” and is the don of South Africa’s underground movement of techno trouble-stirrers who could, with the click of a mouse, cause your company to fall into the 90% bracket of enterprises which will suffer significant financial loss by 2005 through breaches in security.

Delegates attending a presentation on computer hackers, hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the Institute of Directors, in Durban on Wednesday, were told there was a huge hacking community in South Africa run by someone who calls himself “Low Voltage”.

This information – along with other shocking statistics – was released by Pragasen Morgan, assistant manager of Global Risk Management Solutions, a security division of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“They meet regularly in Johannesburg to share information, programs and secrets as well as methods and passwords for hacking into certain systems. They work together to overcome different types of security measures,” said Morgan.

Although Morgan couldn’t give any more details on the dark dealings of this group, he did say that there were a number of local “vendors” from whom you could easily pick up the tools for hacking.

“At the end of last year hacking activity increased by 40% worldwide. Hacking among South African corporations is on the increase, but companies won’t talk about it because they run the risk of being branded an unsafe company.

“For example, in financial institutions people would fear leaving their money or information with a company that has been hacked.

“There are a number of local sites where programs can be downloaded, and there are even more advanced international sites which I’d rather not mention because the information available is far too dangerous for people to get hold of,” he said.

You H4ve B33n H4cked (you have been hacked) is just one example of a less vulgar slap-in-the-face reminder that may be left behind after a hacker has had his way with your system.

Morgan said hackers did what they did more for a challenge and very rarely to hold a company to ransom.

“They are in it for the fame and glory, the tougher the security system the bigger the chip on his shoulder.

“August 1 to 19 this year was tabled as the worst period for viruses spread with more financial loss in this week than on September 11 and this is because in that week there was a worldwide hacking competition.

“Other reasons for hacks could be competitors who approach hackers for inside info or disgruntled employees,” he said.

As if having a dark underworld prowling your space isn’t enough, according to PricewaterhouseCooper global statistics, companies need to be wary of an art-of-war type of situation in which the enemy may very well be within your quarters.

Said Morgan: “More than 55% of hacks happen by authorised employees. From a threat point of view the employee poses the greatest threat in hacking. Not only do they know your networks and passwords but they often open e-mails with viruses and spread them.

“The most common form of hacking is through viruses via e-mail spread to cripple a network and hacking into web pages, where they are defaced, leading to major losses in revenue.

“An example of this was a major retail client that we dealt with where an employee hacked into the company’s system resulting in a day-long down time at the cost of around R1 million,” said Morgan.

He said that since the introduction of Windows in the late 1980s, there was an increase in vulnerability.

“Companies need to constantly update their security systems and step up on staff awareness. On a number of social engineered techniques for clients we’ve managed to enter major organisations posing as repair men or cleaners or even just plain suits blending with the environment.

“We then access a computer and get into their network. In most cases you are not stopped if you look confident and like you fit in.

“It’s also very easy to hack in to a system through a home-made wireless mechanism. We were able to construct one of these using some information we got off the net.”

Bala Naidoo, Director of Communi-cations for the South African Police Service in KwaZulu-Natal, said: “We are not aware of this hacking community and if any information regarding this is brought forward we will investigate it.

“So far in Durban we’ve dealt with about 52 cases of internet banking fraud and have no hacking cases reported. We investigate these cases through our commercial crime unit which has the expertise to
handle this,” he said.


Entertainment Hacking

TED Talks – Elizabeth Gilbert on Coping with Genius

In this video, Elizabeth Gilbert delivers one of the best TED talks I’ve seen. With unexpected style, humour and confidence she discusses the creative barriers she is experiencing in her life as a writer, and pitches an excellent suggestion on how to cope with your creative genius. Nice.

And while we’re on the subject, here’s an old but excellent TED talk by Ze Frank. (Another creative genius)

Technorati Tags: Elizabeth Gilbert, genius, creativity, TED, inspiration


Record Fuel Mileage

Ullapool Petrol Station III by Iguana Jo
Ullapool Petrol Station III by Iguana Jo

Given today’s ever-increasing fuel prices in South Africa, you really only have two options available to you:
1. Sit in a corner and cry while waiting for the price to come down,
2. Learn how to drive your car safely in as fuel efficient a manner as possible.

I chose the latter, and it’s paying off.
I’m driving a 1.6 petrol Citroen C4, not a small car, but a comfortable ride, and a pretty damn fuel efficient one too, when driven correctly. My last tank of approximately 55 litres, took me to 812.8km before I lost my nerve and pulled in at the petrol pump. My usual tank range is around 700km, so you can understand the caution. The new consumption works out to 6.6l per 100 km in the combined cycle, say 50% highway, 50% everywhere else. I’ve been used to getting 8.1 or 8.2 litres per 100, so this certainly was a big step up.

Now I’m not saying buy Citroen – I’m saying learn how to drive again – make the journey an adventure in cost saving. Learn to love neutral, and enjoy coasting down hills and highways. Hypermiling can be fun, when done safely. It brings a new lease of life to the boring old commute, and think of all the cool stuff you can do with that money instead of burning it.