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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Hackers vs. Nokia 3-2: Y-Drive/Modo method breaks the locks of Symbian Signed

Hack Symbian with Y-Drive and Modo
UPDATE: There's a new version of this hack which is a lot easier to use, and which also works on Feature Pack 2 phones and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

First there was the AppTRK hack to set your Symbian phone free. When Nokia plugged the hole, it didn't take long before the hackers striked back with the HelloCarbide method.

But when Nokia fixed the HelloCarbide method back in September 2008, the new Nokia firmware versions resisted hacking for a long time: four entire months.

But now there's a new way into the system folders of your phone. The new trick from Deltafox uses the ability to assign drive letters to folders with MapDrives, which makes Symbian believe that a folder with a modified copy of installserver.exe is a system drive. This allows you to install the file manager Modo, which is progammed in a peculiar way that allows it to write to system folders
before your phone is hacked. When you finish all the steps, you'll end up with the SIS Installer Mod on drive C:\ of your phone, which enables you to install any .sis file, even if it's not signed by Symbian Signed. You'll also get write access to system folders like C:\sys\bin.

This method is new, experimental, and complicated, and even the tiniest mistake will make it fail. It may not work on your phone, but if you can get it to work you can install any program you like (including programs like rotateMe) without Symbian Signed getting in your way. You won't be able to turn Symbian capability checking off with this method yet, but you'll get read/write access to the Symbian system folders.

If you have not hacked a Symbian phone with the old AppTRK or ROMPatcher methods before, it may be better to wait until an easier method becomes available. If you want to try it anyway, go to and click on "The Y-drive/Modo method."

There's a video of the hacking process on YouTube. It comes with horrible music, so switch the sound off.

Confirmed to work on these phones and firmware versions:

Nokia N81-3 firmware version 21.0.008
Nokia N82 firmware version 30.0.019 and 31.0.016
Nokia N95 firmware version 31.0.017
Nokia N95 8GB firmware version 31.0.015
Nokia E51 firmware version 300.34.56
Nokia E66 firmware version 200.21.118
Nokia E71 firmware versions 110.07.127 and 200.21.188
Nokia E90 Communicator version 300.34.84
Nokia 5320 XpressMusic firmware version 3.26 (but not 4.13)
Nokia 6120 Classic firmware version 6.01

It may or may not work with other phones and firmware versions. More info in this discussion on the Symbian Freak forum (login/signup required).

UPDATE: There's a new version of this hack which is a lot easier to use, and which also works on Feature Pack 2 phones and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

get your own developer certificate
the Y-Drive/Modo package at Mobile Castle
index of all Symbian hacking methods
discussion of the Y-Drive/Modo hacking method in the modding section of the Symbian Freak forum (login/signup required)


mas said...

congratulation.......probably i will update my N82 to f/w 30.x.x later on...will i get my "AGPS hacked by illusion" work on f/w 30.x.x ?

buju said...

its good to be able to "hack" into the phone , but I dont understand why the "hackers" are not looking into developing a program that can dump / reload the firmware with the appropriate mods , like the windows mobile phones .....
Would be so much easier to download a modded rom / firmware and load that into your phone.

If the windows mobile community can do it why cant the symbian community do it ?

symbian underground said...

Maybe because Symbian is not as leaky as Windows?

Alin said...

I can't install Modo to my mobile E51 with firmware version 300.34.56. I have followed all the steps. But when I tried to install Modo, it showed "Request Application Access Not Granted". Please gimme a solution. Thanks.