For those who have been awaiting a Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (SGH-i537) root to be released, the notorious iOS and Playstation hacker George Hotz aka Geohot released an android hack tool Monday night known as "Active Root" which always for simple one-click rooting of the latest android Samsung smartphone model, the S4 Active. (For directions to download and install Geohot's Samsung Galaxy S4 Active root hack, scroll to the bottom of the article)
According to Phandroid.com, the hacker purchased a Galaxy S4 Active on the way home from the beach and within about an hour had rooted the device and posted pictures on an XDA thread. Though he included no details about how it was done, it didn't take long for people to start talking.
The Galaxy S4 Active (SGH-i537) released only two weeks ago through AT&T and up to this point was the only new Android device yet to be rooted. Many owners of the new device were quite anxious to see it rooted and therefore had set up a bounty through XDA-Developer forum in hopes of encouraging a rapid root of the device. So far the bounty had accrued $455. Oddly, it seems George Hotz aka Geohot was completely unaware of the bounty at the time he published his photos, and thus far it remains unclaimed.
Soon after, however, Hotz was found posting a link to the Active Root tool which users can access free of charge though he does have a donation button available for those who would like to contribute. The hack is only available for Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
As many have noted, and as Geohot has posted himself on the download site, the hack he created was based off of an already-known kernel vulnerability — the libperf_event exploit.
On Twitter, Georg Wicheriski, who is a senior security researcher at CrowdStrike explained how George Hotz managed to create the Active Root hack for the Galaxy S4 Active: "GeoHot's Active exploits perf_swevent_enabled, but abuses rwx kernel .text to directly increment code. Therefore avoiding children mess ... GeoHot was too lazy to strip the original source [libperf_event_exploit] ... he just plugged in his own trigger."
In addition, Pau Oliva, a Telematics engineer, and Linux system administrator, let folks know that though the hack will allow root access to the Galaxy S4 Active, at this time it will not work with the latest leaked Android 4.3 firmware we saw on the Galaxy S4 not too long ago.
Since the hack is not based off of a vulnerability found by Geohot, it is unclear if he will be the recipient of the bounty on the XDA Developer's forum.
Here is what the forum currently has posted:
[Root] Bounty for AT&T Galaxy S4 Active Root (SGH-i537) Root Achieved!
As requested here is a separate thread for the S4 Active bounty
Root must be repeatable by the average user it also must be stable:
joshuadjohnson22 $10 8M127451EM528464N
TenEightyPee $10 6BB23055YJ674324X
SirBash $10 7CM588676N745162J
Total as of 10:08 PM EST 7/1/2013: $455
(if you made a pledge but changed your mind or if I missed your pledge please PM me)
I was asked what the process would be once a exploit is found. Once it is found we will wait for the dev to specify how he wants the money sent. Usually it is just a donation to their paypal account. On rare occasions the dev will just say they want money donated to charity but that is rare and the dev should get paid for their hard work. I will follow up to make sure everyone pays.
Why Hack or Root Your Android Device?
As many know, hacking Android devices is pretty commonplace and most users enjoy having root access for the sake of modding their Android devices, including aesthetic changes such as removing the skins and adding customized ROMS, which allows for unique theming capabilities. In addition, rooting an Android device allows users the ability to download tons of third party apps created within the "homebrew" Android community. The best part of all is, unlike iOS, which has a completely separate jailbreak app store called Cydia, many of the "rooted" Android apps are found right within the Google Play Store.
Besides having the ability to customize and add different apps not available for stock Android devices, rooting the Galaxy S4 Active will help ensure you are getting the latest OS firmware updates on your device. Android is infamous for its slow release of updated firmware, but by rooting your Android S4 Active you are able to tap into the wonderful resource of the Android developer community, where many times the latest OS becomes available long before the carrier releases the update.
There are a million other advantages to rooting your Android S4 Active as well including being able to completely rid yourself of apps you find useless and that just take up space. There are also a number of kernel customizations, which can optimize the speed of your device while also increasing battery life.
Basically, by rooting an Android device such as the S4 Active, you are allowing yourself to freedom to turn your device into the one you truly want or need it to be, from deep customization to new productivity and usability tools. Once you've tried it there's really no going back.
So if you are ready to root, continue reading the ultra simple instructions below. Do bear in mind that you should follow the instructions carefully, as rooting a device improperly can lead to improper functioning and may also void your warranty. With access to the root of your device there is always the possibility of messing something up, but by and large, most will find the process simple and painless and will not run into any problems — particularly with a rooting tool as straightforward as Geohot's Active Root.
How to Root Android Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Using Geohot's ActiveRoot
1. Visit http://geohot.com/activeroot/
2. You will see a page that looks like this:
3. Click on the Lambda symbol in the middle of the page to begin the download of Active Root on your PC or Android device
4. Once the apk is downloaded, install, then run Active Root
5. From there the process should take care of itself. Simple follow any additional directions that follow.