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January 07, 2013

Hacker Unlocks Windows RT to Use Unauthorized Apps

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Have a Windows tablet and wish to use “unsigned” apps? Perhaps a hacker named clrokr can help you circumvent the limitations of Windows RT, the Microsoft (News - Alert) Windows operating system designed to run on mobile devices.

In a blog post that appeared on Sunday, clrokr revealed how he was able to change a value in the Windows RT kernel to bypass certain restrictions set up by Microsoft. The post includes clrokr’s code to help other clever individuals use unauthorized apps. For the rest of us? Don’t count on it…it is pretty complicated.

“Savvy programmers might be able to duplicate clrokr's steps and code to hack their own devices. However, your average RT tablet owner would be in the dark,” according to Cnet. 

Image via Shutterstock

So how is it accomplished? According to Cnet, it’s because the RT version of Windows 8 isn't all that different from the full version.

“Windows RT is a clean port of Windows 8,” writes clrokr on the blog post. “They are the same thing and [Microsoft] enforces Code Integrity to artificially separate these platforms. It does not stop pirates from modifying store apps (and their license checks) because store apps are the only things that can actually run unsigned. The fact that this method works on Windows 8 as well shows how similar the systems are.”

So which devices are likely to be affected? So far, Windows RT runs on a number of tablet devices, including the Microsoft Surface released in October, the Asus VivoTab RT, the Samsung ATIV Tab, the Dell (News - Alert) XPS 10 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11.

Unlike the rather wide open Android platform, Microsoft tablet users are limited to a somewhat closed eco-system when it comes to apps, and in this way, it more closely resembles Apple’s (News - Alert) proprietary iOS system, apps for which may only be purchased at Apple Apps Stores.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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