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Hackers get root access on Google Glass ahead of retail release (update)

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Google Glass (STOCK)
Google Glass (STOCK)

Tinkerers have only had their hands on the Google Glass "Explorer Edition" for a few days, but they've already found a way to achieve root on Google's much-ballyhooed face-computer, granting full access to the device's Android operating system.

The hack comes courtesy of legendary iOS jailbreaker Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, who tells Forbes that he cracked the device using a known exploit used to get root on Android 4.0, first discovered by another hacker named B1nary. Freeman says it was a simple task, accomplished in a matter of hours by fooling the device into thinking it's actually an emulation instead of the real hardware. Since emulations are used for testing, all permissions are granted and root is achieved.

Freeman is not the first to crack Glass, though: just yesterday, another developer, Liam McLoughlin, also got root on his device. Although both jailbreaks were successful on the current Explorer Edition of Glass, it's not clear whether those holes will still be available in the consumer edition. But it's potentially a boon for those concerned about the fact that Google can remotely deactivate the device it you attempt to sell it — or anyone not fond of the fact that Google will be pre-screening all the apps that go on device, unlike its more open app ecosystem on Google Play.

Update: Google X project engineer Stephen Lau has confirmed what was suspected: Google purposely left Glass unlocked "so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it." It's not clear if consumer versions of Glass after the developer-friendly Explorer Edition will be unlocked as well, but Lau is encouraging early adopters to "show me something cool."

Thanks, jfedor!