Windows RT jailbreak to spark developer interest

News 11 Jan, 2013

Microsoft applaud ingenuity, but may take steps to plug hole.

A jail-break for Surface RT devices has emerged, which could re-ignite interest in the platform and increase the potential usefulness of the tablet.

The program, which automates the jailbreaking process along with a detailed walkthrough, is available at the XDA Developers forum.

This provides the ability to load apps onto the Windows RT OS without the Windows Store.

Apps such as Chrome and Firefox are likely to make their way onto the RT in the near future, with developer Netham45 noting that there aren’t any “major technical hurdles for those”.

Users will need to run the code every time they reboot the device.

“[The jailbreak] doesn't persist across reboots [and the] chances are the Support Center will never know, though it may be against the terms of your devices' warranty,” Netham45 noted in a Q&A.

However, jailbreaking the device is likely to leave it open to viruses and users are even warned that links to available compiled apps on the XDA site could actually be malicious code.

Microsoft has gone on record as stating the hack does not exploit a security vulnerability.

“The mechanism described is not something the average user could, or reasonably would, leverage, as it requires local access to a system, local administration rights and a debugger in order to work,” the firm said in a statement.

“We applaud the ingenuity of the folks who worked this out and the hard work they did to document it. We’ll not guarantee these approaches will be there in future release.”

Microsoft also emphasised the Windows Store is the only supported method for customers to install applications for Windows RT. There are mechanisms in place to scan for security threats and help ensure apps from the Store are legitimate, Redmond added.