Developer Geohot, known from his Playstation 3 hack and iPhone jailbreaks, has released an universal root method for Android device. The root method should work on every Android device with a kernel date from before June 3rd 2014. The hack appears to be initially designed for the Samsung Galaxy S5 but Geohot writes on his site, “root for at&t and verizon s5 but in seriousness should support all phones < jun 3 2014”.
Geohot calls his method Towelroot and it works as simple as installing an APK file from his website. Although rooting should work on almost every Android device, the latest phones from HTC and Motorola are not supported because they have a write protected system partition.
Towelroot uses a vulnerability in Android, however Geohot hasn’t disclosed any details on which one. The fact that it works on devices with a kernel date from before the 3rd of June gives us the impression that the vulnerability is no longer part of most recent Android versions. Users for whom the hack doesn’t work are encouraged to mail Geohot with a log file, so he can try to make it work.
Geohot warns that the APK download might trigger Android anti-virus scanners, it could be detected as ‘Andr.Exploit.Ratc’, this a known issue and won’t be fixed.
The 24 year old George Hotz, also known as Geohot is known for his hacks of the Playstation 3 and jailbreaks for iOS. He was threatened with a lawsuit by Sony but the Japanese electronics giant and the hacker settled before the case came to court.