Saturday, September 18, 2021

How (NOT?!) to jailbreak your iPhone – Bare Safety

Remember the last big jailbreak news?

It was nearly a year ago, back in May 2020, when well-known Apple jailbreaking crew unc0ver released version 5 of their jailbreak toolkit, just a week after Apple came out with iOS 13.5.

The word jailbreak, at least in the IT world, is a generic term for a programming trick that can liberate locked-down hardware from the strictures that the manfuacturer built into it.

But these days, jailbreaking most commonly refers to a very specific sort of unlocking tool: one that can release your iPhone or iPad from Apple’s notoriously strict walled garden.

(On locked-down Android phones, the process is more commonly known as rooting, because root is the name given to the one-admin-to rule-them-all account on Unix and Unix-like operating systems.)

Jailbreaking, as we have said before, can be a risky business, because in the process of jailbreaking you’re actively and deliberately exploiting a security vulnerability that wasn’t supposed to the there in the first place.

As appealing as it sounds to “escape” from Apple’s walled garden, jailbreaking is not for the faint-hearted, because it can leave you exposed to more dangers than before.

In fact, the only cases we know of where iPhone worms have been able to spread from device to device by themselves has been on jailbroken phones, where applying the jailbreak inadvertently opened up devices to remote connections that were blocked before.