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Apple Warns iPhone Hackers of Dangers

The device can become inoperable.



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made an attempt to beat back the rush of hackers finding ways to modify how its iPhone is used.

The company issued a release late Monday discouraging people from using "unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs" that have proliferated on the Internet. These programs let users make calls, surf the Web and send messages over the cellular networks of telecom carriers that haven't partnered with Apple.

Apple's statement said that the programs can damage the iPhone's software and make the device "permanently inoperable" when they install updates to the iTune's music downloading service.

Unlike other cell phone makers, Apple has teamed with selected telecom carriers in the countries where its phone is available.

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was the first carrier to offer the iPhone, and has an exclusive agreement with Apple that lasts several years. In recent weeks, Apple has unveiled similar deals with European carriers in the U.K., Germany and France.

Since the iPhone debuted in June, hackers across the globe have come up with ways to modify the device's software so that they can use it on any network they want. A high school student from New Jersey created the first program with the help of hackers in other countries.

The growing availability of hacking programs has put pressure on Apple to protect the interests of its partners by discouraging iPhone buyers from using the hackers' programs to run the device on rival networks.

In recent weeks, anecdotal reports have surfaced that employees in Apple's retail stores have refused to honor the warranty of hacked iPhones. Monday's announcement is a more formal attempt to discourage hacking.

Apple also said that the work-around programs violate the iPhone's software license as well as the product's warranty.

Shares of Apple closed Monday up $4.13, or 2.9%, to an all-time closing high of $148.28.