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Verizon Galaxy S4 Root and Bootloader Unlock Bounty Now Sits at $3000+ After Just 8 Days

verizon galaxy s4

It’s no secret that the most recent update to many of the Samsung Galaxy S4 variants in the U.S. patched up the previous bootloader and root exploits that were discovered by Dan Rosenberg. The Verizon variant is one in particular that is no longer a free device (Dobby is a free elf), so as has been the case with locked down devices over the years, we have a growing bounty on our hands that in only 8 days has eclipsed the $3000 mark. 

Shortly after the update went live and owners of the phone quickly realized that Big Red had done them dirty, a thread over at XDA has been asking for donations to a bounty amount in hopes of grabbing the attention of hackers and security exploit magicians. The thread lists out bounties for root access only (plus recovery) along with a root (plus recovery) and bootloader solution. The root-only option sits at $2260, while the root + bootloader option is at $3160 at the time of this post. So far, no one has produced either a root or bootloader bypass to claim either bounty.

If you didn’t think root and bypassing bootloaders was important, maybe this will help you realize that there is still a strong development community for top tier devices like the Galaxy S4. Now, if only we could get Dan to come back and work his mysterious bootloader touch.

To add to the growing pot, hit up the XDA link below.

Via:  XDA

Note:  There is an AT&T bounty up as well, but it doesn’t have quite the same amount of buzz around it. Also, if someone is able to break through on the Verizon version, I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar method worked for the AT&T variant.

Cheers Open1Your1Eyes!

  • bumpaudio

    Put me down for another $40. I just got the verizon s4 2 weeks ago and came preloaded with version me7 .

  • Austin flowe

    I made my software to root & unlock my s4 with the update

  • zmedhaug

    I believe I have a way to unlock this bootloader. I wanted to buy an s4 but can’t until I find one before the ME7 build. If someone is willing to try my method we may be able to obtain an unlocked bootloader. Hit me up on HANGOUTS if your willing to give this a try. [email protected] You will NEED to be rooted on ME7 with a locked bootloader.

  • RaptorOO7

    If you are buying a 16GB in the stores you are very likely to get one with MDK on it, if you order online and/or get a 32GB (at least on the 32GB) you will definitely get ME7, I did and I am NOT happy.

  • slicrick

    Hell I had my phone in my pocket I felt it vibrate next I know it says installing update

  • Guest

    All I can say is, THANK YOU DEVELOPERS! I had the misfortune of severely breaking my rooted S4’s screen Friday, and wasn’t looking forward to (in all likelihood) not being able to reap the benefits of root on the replacement.

    Titanium Backup, Greenify, and other apps have made me count on my device being rooted. Again, a BIG THANKS to everyone that worked hard on making this possible!

  • youxi795

    tinyurl.com/nc6x6hg

  • Matt4542

    I am running the first release of CyanogenMod that I found ever since I rooted it. I’m still using loki. Is that still relevant?

  • TruthHurtsTheWeak

    Just shows you how many stupid effin people took the update….$3100 wont undo their ignorance unfortunately. All it would of taken is ONE GOOGLE SEARCH or just a SPECK of common sense. I hope you fools have to pay $10,000! Should have to pay a high price for being an idiot.

  • Guest12345

    Too bad the developers that can crack it have become whiny little babies, and would rather spend time bashing people on twitter.

    I miss the days when modding Android was fun, now everyone that does it likes to spend more time complaining about users than doing anything useful.

  • matthew

    thats what i would say odin back to the original software flash a rom and just update the current software through zips or flashable apks as I have done with my s3 to make it a s4 overclockable to 1.920 ghz.

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      Why are you talking to your friends ex-wife?

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  • Matt Lauber

    When Samsung releases the Verizon Galaxy S4 developer edition can you simply grab that ROM and bootloader and flash them? Isn’t the difference between the devises only software?

  • Fredy Nativi

    Dobby is dead!

  • replacing very first iphone

    so im just trying to get a phone… I want the best available cuz I tend to keep my devices for years.. leaning towards the Galaxy S4 (really like the s3 but figured why not get the most updated version even if its gonna take up more space in my clutch and not as curvy) and came across this and its making me nervous… im impressed so many people understand this article. Is this and many of the comments even in English? can someone explain whats going on here in laymen’s terms… I feel like im reading Shakespeare. is there an issue with te S4. I moved out of the US 2 years ago.. so I am going to need an unlocked S4 here

    • John Friend

      People buy the phone and want to change how it performs (faster, better battery life, etc). I would equate it to someone who has bought a new car and had it custom painted (this would be like getting a new phone case). Then they also changed the exhaust, brakes, radio, and air intake. In most cases of the car and phone, the bumper to bumper warranty is gone. You make changes like these and the device is now your responsibility. However the online support is sufficient should problems arise Make sure before you begin altering your phone you learn the basics and ask questions.

      If you are remotely leaning towards buying the Galaxy S4, then you probably should buy it. Android always has something new coming out and the time to buy is now. Unless you want to wait until september and get the Galaxy Note 3. :-) Rooting and unlocking is not a must to enjoy a phone depending on what you do with it. The average consumer doesn’t need root privileges but it shouldn’t void their warranty.

  • croozn

    So…I am new to rooting and have been trying to do this on my T-Mobile S4 today. Not working. I get an SU update error (tried both SU apps) and if I try to run Titanium backup, it says it can’t acquire root access.

    Is it not possible to root this phone? I am really starting to hate this f-ing thing and its bloatware.

  • http://zedomax.com/blog zedomax

    this IS exciting to watch

  • Bill Hill

    Monkey D. Luffy
    “Straw Hat”
    400,000,000 Beli

  • Peter Blanco

    If people would use their brains and NOT accept OTA we wouldn’t be in this situation. If you’re going to root and unlock KNOW the stipulations, it’s important!

    • hoosiercub88

      Do you really expect every single person out there who unlocked to never accept an ota ever again? That’s just stupid.

      • KleenDroid

        Why would they need to? You do realize the devs put out the rooted version often times the same day or sooner.

        Ota updates are NEVER needed for those that are rooted.

        The only time you allow an ota update is if you no longer want to be rooted. And you risk never being able to get root back.

    • shangmaster

      But we WANT the OTA fixes and features. So we have a choice: take them and no root or not take them and wait until a root. Either way we give up something. Don’t tell us which choice we should take. You don’t know me and what’s important to me. What’s a shame is that we can’t all have a simple way to get root if we want it. I understand the carriers to some extent, but allow us to root and then let us deal with issues related to it. If we have a problem, the carrier may demand we go back to stock before they will help us. But stop the arms race, please…

      • KleenDroid

        http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2357610he devs put out a pre rooted version of all updates almost the same day.

        So no you never have to make a choice. I never understood why people don’t install the safe version. I think some just like the idea of getting an update ota for some reason.

        But there is NEVER a need. The only choice you have to make is if you never want root again.

        • shangmaster

          But this is not an option for people who have new phones with the update on them, already. That’s not the point. The point is that carriers should not lock the devices. Period. I agree that there are other hoops one can jump through, but we shouldn’t have to. We own the device (yes, I do… paid full price and not on a contract).

  • ed

    never ever EVER take an OTA!

  • trumpet444

    The Dobby comment is flipping awesome!

  • James Hill

    Lets see, when the DNA gets the 4.2 update, will the users who are rooted and have s-off take the update, the same as the Galaxy S4 users did?

  • RaptorOO7

    This is exhibit A) of why I left VERIZON, followed by Exhibit B) I will buy UNLOCKED phones from now on. My HTC One is a DE Unlocked and I like it that way.

  • Tim242

    I’m lucky to not be on Verizon’s update path : )
    Carrier update free since 2009.

    • Jonathan Williams

      I only upgraded through verizon last year because they gave me a GNex for free and kept my unlimited data. That will most likely be the last time I upgrade through them.

    • moew

      I’m sure you meant “contract free”, unless you are buying cell phones to ONLY use on WIFI :)

      • Tim242

        I meant update free, as in software update free.

  • brkshr

    This is why I stick with Nexus. For better or worse spec wise, I would rather know for certain that my phone will be unlockable & rootable, than have to worry about it.

    • RaptorOO7

      True, but WHY do the nexus specs always SUCK? Who the hell wants 8GB of storage with a minuscule amount for actual use.

      • brkshr

        I wouldn’t say they SUCK… I have had the 16GB N4 version since it was released and I still have 7-8GB of free storage. I stream music with Google Music, sync my photos with G+ and only keep 2 or 3 nandroid backups. Problem solved for me.

        Spec wise, the N4 is near the top. It may not be at the top now, but it was when it was released. I experience ZERO lag with my year old processor and I really don’t mind at all that the new N7 will have the same processor. It works great! I would say the storage is really the only downside to the phone… well maybe the glass back too, but mine has yet to shatter. Well… okay, LTE is missing too… I guess I learned to live with that. I seriously doubt Google will make the next Nexus without LTE though.

        My decision stands. Nexus or nothing for me. I know not everyone needs an unlockable bootloader and root, but I do and I take comfort in the fact that the Nexus brand will always have both & have source/binaries published making them the most stable devices for an AOSP based ROM.

        • mrjayviper

          it is an option for those in america but for the rest of the world where unlimited data is not existent, 16gb without microsd is just limiting.

          • brkshr

            True. I do fine with my 5GB of data, but I definitely see how others can use a lot more than me.

          • hoosiercub88

            Umm. What America are you referring to? Unlimited isn’t really a thing here anymore unless you want to use a carrier that doesn’t care about the coverage their network has unless it’s inside a metropolitan area. Because that’s how you cover more people, and it sounds better on your TV adverts.

          • mrjayviper

            still available unlike most countries out there. sure some are on grandfathered plans but no such plans were available in most countries.

          • SemahjLam

            buuuuuut its still unlimited for us people who never leave cities

        • RaptorOO7

          Sorry but Google does NOT put sufficient storage in their Nexus devices. 16Gb is a joke and they should be coming with 32GB minimum or an option. Also 64GB is much better.

          • Stephen Cox

            If only there was this technology that allowed users to add storage to the device as needed…

  • coolsilver

    Flash dump developers edition.

  • chris

    Wow Samsung usually don’t do this to us oh well still got the Gnex and S3 not upgrading for a long while.

    • Eric

      This is all Verizon’s doing.

      • chris

        I know but even on the s3 you could tell it was locked, but almost so easily bypassed it was like they did it on purpose! (How I like to think of it anyways)

        • Eric

          there was a bounty for the S3 also although not as much I think.

        • ed

          It was not bypassed. The unlocked bootloader was leaked by the African Sock-Monkey.

  • Capt. Crunch

    The devs are probably waiting to see how high the bounty will go before they release the exploit.

    • James_75

      ? The bounty goes to the first one to achieve the exploit right? I sure as hell wouldn’t wait!

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        It’s a gamble, you wait a few days and see if anyone claims it, if not you see how long you can wait before someone beats you to it.

  • Pedro

    Really? An OTA update can cause all that grief?

    fastboot oem unlock

    solves all your problems.

    • Gnex

      Uh… no. The bootloader isn’t unlockable.

      • Pedro

        It is on my nexus.
        Live with the purchase.

        • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

          Enjoy your horrible camera, poor battery life, small(er) screen, fragile glass back, no 1080p display, non-water resistant, and heavy phone. Some of us like excellent hardware, in hopes that the dev community can make the experience better. Software can be changed with relative ease, good luck changing the hardware on your Nexus.

          • Skittlez

            software can’t be changed relatively easily on the Verizon S4, right now. Bazinga!

          • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

            Haha, touche

          • KleenDroid

            You mad bro?

          • hackthis02

            Excellent hardware? Have you touched the GS4? It’s garbage. You can teach a old dog new tricks, but it’s still an old dog.

          • hoosiercub88

            Having played with both, I don’t see what the big deal is, feature wise and fun factor wise the S4 feels snappier to use and is more fun to play with, especially the camera. The N4 feels more premium because it has a glass back, but I seen how well that worked on the iPhone 4/S so I’ll pass, because my phones get abused and dropped. Not to mention I require a MicroSD card.

            Its also not availble on Verizon, a device is only as good as the network its on.. If I had a N4 on T-Mobile id be f*****g miserable, EDGE/GPRS in every direction for an hour and a half to two hours. Very similar with AT&T except for a few small pockets of HSPA.

            So keep in mind what works for you doesn’t automatically blanket everyone’s best interests dude.

          • Pedro

            While you exaggerate the perceived weaknesses on the N4, I know what I’ve got. It won’t change on the whim of some exec at Verizon.

  • Fahad Beg

    A gnex verizon with the RARE pogo dock and a Dna is also included

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Shiiit, i’m about to learn how to make root exploits this weekend

    • Kane Desousa

      Lol the root exploit is already done just isn’t released ;D

      • Kane65

        If so it will be released soon. Who managed it this time?

  • jnt

    I would imagine with that type of bounty that Dan just might be looking at it again…

    • Project Mayhem

      Call me a pessimist but at most probably half the people will pay up since it’s just based on the honor system. Still better than nothing and the well known devs aren’t necessarily driven by the money. They do it cause they love it.

      • michael arazan

        I think someone should post the bounty over at Samsung’s G+ account, and see if it entices some employees who may want to make a quick few thousand dollars.

        • twiz0r

          Why don’t you do it then? You could have copied and pasted it there in the time it took you to make your post :)

  • hackthis02

    Sucks for you guys, all current gen Moto devices are unlockable.

    • Greg Morgan

      I’m pretty sure the newest updates did the same thing to Moto devices.

      • hackthis02

        True. But only if you won’t already unlocked.

        • Bigwavedave25

          So you are saying after accepting the update, you could then re-unlock the bootloader using the same previous method? (Curious if I make a future Moto purchase)

          • Greg Morgan

            No, I’m pretty sure the update blocked the current method the same way it did for the S4.

          • hackthis02

            @disqus_dHZI1k9FF0:disqus is correct. It patches the exploit but doesn’t relock you. I would believe/hope that @dhacker24 is looking into a new exploit.

        • jnt

          I think he’s saying it didn’t relock the BL if you were already unlocked, but it closed up the exploit allowing it to be unlocked.

          edit: that was supposed to be in response to bigwavedave

    • Eric

      But current moto device’s suck either way…

      • hackthis02

        I’ll agree. HTC has been showing everyone how it’s done lately.

        • n900mixalot

          you mean with the “tampered” flagging?

        • William Kister

          Except for the lack of external storage.

        • MotoHater

          Negative. Sammy is where it’s at.

      • hac-da-s4

        hahaha… true dat

    • MotoHater

      So how about people on that new update that locked bootloaders on Moto phones as well? Oh and how is 4.1.2? LOL

  • Greg Morgan

    It’s a shame we have to resort to this…

    • Justin

      i think its funny. they shouldnt have taken the OTA till someone had a fix for the unlock. but the people that jumped the gun are now stuck. :/

      • Ethan Cain

        Some of us were forced. Just bought the phone, before checking the root threads (I assumed it would be just like the S3) and was SOL from the get go.

        • Justin

          For those who bought it and it came factory i do feel bad for, but the ones that jumped the gun just to get the latest and greatest. they get my laugh.

      • KleenDroid

        Those that were already rooted with recovery that went and got the ota update deserve to be stuck.

        We all should be smart enough at this point to NEVER accept an ota update.

        • Justin Kos

          It goes back to the days of PSP hacking…never update your device haha

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          If people would use their brains
          and NOT accept OTA we wouldn’t be in this situation. If you’re going to
          root and unlock KNOW the stipulations, it’s important!

        • Aaron Smith

          my phone did it without telling me…fml

          • KleenDroid

            That’s odd. It gives you the option to finish the install or postpone.

        • sk3litor

          That’s what I don’t understand. Do they not know Any better or are they just too impatient to wait for our amazing devs to work their magic? I do feel bad for the ones who hadn’t had a chance to root yet

        • Noremacam

          My contract ends tomorrow. I’m worried if I buy the phone it will come with that update pre-installed. We’ll see…

          • KleenDroid

            Don’t let the salesperson update it for you. While activating he or she might automatically do it. When it notifies you there is an update postpone it. Then when you get home get root and recovery as quick as possible. Then you will never worry about it again. Unless you go crazy and install an ota update. Good luck.

      • Kane65

        Um, yes. I’m one of the idiots… sort of. My phone crashed and I couldn’t even get into custom recovery mode. I flashed the update that someone had pulled off their phone without thinking. Now I’m unable to flash anything but the latest! Aaaargh!

        • KleenDroid

          I really hope they are able to figure out the exploit soon for future S4 owners. I have an employee that is going to get one at the end of the month. And I would sure like to hook him up with one of the awesome Roms.

      • RaptorOO7

        Funny, glad you are such a tool to think so. I ordered my GS4 32GB just last week and guess what it came with ME7 on it so I didn’t accept squat other than great coverage and a commitment to use their services for 2 years in exchange for a cheaper price. What I did NOT agree to was being forced into draconian rules as they apply to bootloaders and root. I am sure you figure one goes with the other but you would be wrong.

      • snufyd

        Just bought one and it came with the new update already on it…. so sucks to be me, bought specifically over others so I could have a easier time with loading roms…. ;-(

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