The recent spate of worm attacks in the past week has brought the focus on the importance of your root password.
Unlike feature phones, smartphones like the iPhone run on operating systems, which very much like our computer have administrator privileges.
It is hence that when the hackers get access to your iPhone's administrator account, they can lay their hands on anything that is on the iPhone. However, in a non-jailbroken device, this administrator account (called root) cannot be accessed as the iPhone has no console or terminal access and also does not run services like SSH.
But when an iPhone is jailbroken and SSH is turned on, it becomes imperative that you change the default password of your root since hackers now have an easy access to your iPhone. Here is a short guide on how to change your root password.
Instructions to Install Mobile Terminal:
Step 1: Tap on the Cydia icon on your jailbroken iPhone to launch the application
Step 2: Open the 'Sections' tab on the bottom of the screen and select 'Terminal Support'
Step 3: From the list of packages, select and open 'Mobile Terminal'
Step 4: Tap on the 'Install' button and choose 'Confirm' to begin installation
Step 5: Once installation completes, tap on 'Close Window' button to finish the installation process.
Once mobile terminal is installed on your iPhone, you can proceed to changing the root password
Instructions to Change Root Password:
Step 1: Tap on the 'Mobile Terminal' icon on your iPhone Springboard to launch it.
Step 2: You are shown a black screen. Against the command prompt, type su and tap the return key.
Step 3: You are now prompted for the password. The default password for root is alpine. Input this text and tap the return key once again.
Step 4: You are now logged in as the root user. Against the command prompt, enter the command passwd and tap the return key.
Step 5: You will be prompted to enter a new password. Enter this new password and retype to confirm.
Your root password has been changed. Please do note that the root password is stored in encrypted format in the device and so in the event of you losing the password, it is quite a task to retrieve it. So, make sure to remember your new root password.
As always, please let us know how it goes.