Apple's range of IOS devices - including the new iPhone 4 and iPad - have fallen prey to a new web-based jailbreak. Users need only visit a special URL via their handheld's browser to activate the hack.
Previous jailbreaks have been a far more complicated procedure, requiring the installation of custom software on their PC or Mac. The new, easier "2.0" jailbreak is expected to dramatically increase the number of users who elect to bypass Apple's installation and network limitations.
Hacker collective iPhone Dev Team are behind both past jailbreaks, and the new browser-based bypass.
In August 2009, around 10 per cent of iPhones and iPad touches were estimated as having been jailbroken - with one analyst claiming that the resulting piracy constituted $450 million in lost revenue for Apple.
Jailbreaking allows the installation of software that Apple has for any reason disallowed from appearing on its App Store. This includes programs that activate new features, but also enables pirated versions of paid applications.
While the use of pirated software remains illegal, a DMCA amendment recently rendered jailbreaking permissible in the US. Although Apple has previously claimed that jailbreaking violates its copyright, it may well struggle to crack down on the new hack.