After a previous confirmation from the privacy and security organisation XRSI it was believed that the new Oculus headset, the Quest 2, had been jailbroken. Now, an anonymous source has posted on Reddit claiming that the jailbreak was faked. XRSI has responded to the claim and says that they are currently vetting it.
Earlier this year, a cash prize was offered by Mozilla WebXR software engineer and Oculus founder Palmer Lucky to the first person who could jailbreak the Quest 2. At the end of October XRSI announced that a researcher from their XR community had gained root access to the device and was able to bypass the controversial Facebook login.
For obvious reasons, XRSI protected the anonymity of the individual who jailbroke the device. They also took responsibility for checking the veracity of the claim. They announced that independent researchers were vetting the methods used to jailbreak the headset.
The controversy about the announcement began after another anonymous source posted on Reddit claiming that they had inside information on the recent jailbreak and that it was faked. The post has been deleted but it can still be accessed through this cached web link.
The posters issue with the claim was that it is nearly impossible to run Windows XP or Linux on a XR2 chip. They concluded that they had to have been running a VM (virtual machine), an app that emulates Windows XP rather than booting it with the XR2 processors.
“The problem with this claim is that windows XP cannot run natively on a modern XR2 chip since it was never built to run on arm based processors at all and can only be run inside something called a Virtual Machine or VM. A VM allows you to run an operating system inside your operating system like any other application, it's how people have been able to run Windows 98 on smart devices like watches, fridges etc. The researcher working with XRSI claimed they had installed Windows XP natively to the headset onto a partition and was running it alongside the android OS on another partition. They also claimed they had run Linux on the device in a similar way.
“The issue here is that since it's not possible to do that with XP without reverse engineering the entire windows XP operating system, it became clear that the Linux operating system which provided them root access was also a VM and fake. Here was the big red flag - When tasked with providing evidence of the rooted device the researcher then claimed the root and bootloader unlock had somehow reverted itself and they could not provide the evidence. For those of you that have ever managed to unlock a bootloader, you will know that it is not easy to revert. Even a factory reset or OTA update couldn't revert a bootloader unlock.”
This calls into question the ability of XRSI to validate the claim. It looks like they were far too hasty to announce that the headset had been jailbroken and simply did not do their due diligence. XRSI is still right to maintain the anonymity of the researcher who may or may not have jailbroken the device. It does not seem to be a malicious action on the part of the researcher or XRSI, instead they may have been mistaken or just too eager to publicly announce something.