Amazon’s Kindle devices are some of the most popular eBook readers around, largely due to a combination of affordable price tags and Amazon’s dominance in eBook sales. But while Kindle hardware typically offers a lot of bang for the buck, some folks are less pleased with the software Amazon offers… which is where jailbreaking comes in.
And a group of hackers have just released a new jailbreak tool that works with any Kindle running firmware version 5.14.2 or earlier.
Jailbreaking a Kindle allows you to do things like install third-party eBook reading apps, load custom fonts or screensavers, or change the user interface — which is something I suspect a lot of people would like to do after Amazon rolled out a major update last year that puts the Kindle Store front and center. Once jailbroken, you can roll back to the older version of Amazon’s Kindle user interface.
Another popular real. For jailbreaking is to add support for reading eBooks in the EPUB format, or other file types that may not normally be supported in Kindle devices, but that may be less of an issue now that Amazon finally allows you to send EPUB files to your Kindle Personal Documents.
Since Amazon doesn’t offer an official way to replace or modify the firmware on Kindle devices, hackers relied on a set of security vulnerabilities to deliver the latest jailbreak.
The good news is that since those vulnerabilities are present in all Kindle firmware through version 5.14.2, you should be able to jailbreak just about any Kindle that hasn’t already been updated to Amazon’s new 5.14.3 firmware. And if you have no plans to jailbreak a Kindle and want to make sure the latest security fixes are applied, then you can update to the latest firmware to patch the vulnerability.
The less good news for folks who want to jailbreak but may not be ready to do it just yet, is that firmware version 5.14.3 will likely begin rolling out as an automatic update soon, so you may want to disable WiFi on your Kindle until you’ve had a chance to jailbreak.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to factory reset your Kindle in order to jailbreak it, so you’ll want to make sure any important files are backed up before you get started. And there’s always some risk involved, so proceed with caution and make sure to follow the instructions very carefully.
You can find those instructions in a post by katadelos at the MobileRead forums.