Three hackers say they have exploited a vulnerability in Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet to gain root access to the device, a claim that could damage the BlackBerry maker's hard-won reputation for security.

Root access means a user has permission to alter any file or program on a device and can control hardware functions.

In a response to queries, RIM said it is investigating the claim, and if a "jailbreak" is confirmed will release a patch to plug the hole.

The three hackers - who identify themselves as xpvqs, neuralic and Chris Wade - plan to release their data within a week as a tool called DingleBerry.

Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems are frequently attacked by users who want to run programs that have not been authorized by the manufacturers, but breaches of RIM's software are more rare.

Full story: Reuters