Hackers released a tool that will jailbreak iOS 11 to iOS 13.5, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system that was rolled out on May 20.
Jailbreaking opens up iPhones to various customization options, including the installation of third-party apps. Apple warns that such unauthorized modifications result in security vulnerabilities, instability, and service disruptions, but owners who opt to jailbreak enjoy freedom over how they use their devices.
The new tool by the Unc0ver team represents the first time in years that a jailbreak is available for the current version of iOS for more than a few days, Wired reported. Unc0ver said that the jailbreak is stable, will not drain the iPhone’s battery, and will not prevent the usage of Apple services such as iMessage, iCloud, and Apple Pay.
“This jailbreak basically just adds exceptions to the existing rules,” said the lead developer of Unc0ver, who is known as Pwn20wnd. “It only enables reading new jailbreak files and parts of the filesystem that contain no user data.” This means that the user data protections implemented by Apple are preserved, and the sandbox security of iOS that prevents apps from accessing data they shouldn’t be able to is not affected.
The team did not disclose the iOS vulnerability that was exploited to build the jailbreak. According to Pwn20wnd and independent security researchers, it will take Apple about two to three weeks to fix the exploit, unless the company is already in the process of patching it in advance of the release of the jailbreak.
Jailbreaking iPhones comes with various advantages, but it also comes with certain risks. iPhone owners should study what jailbreaking entails, and should only proceed with the process if they are comfortable with the possible consequences and are sure of what they are doing.
The iOS 13.5 jailbreak is another knock on what was once considered an impenetrable fortress of security for Apple.
In addition to the zero-day jailbreak, Zerodium, which buys and sells zero-day exploits, said last week that it will not accept iOS vulnerabilities for now due to the high supply. Meanwhile, a recent Motherboard report revealed that an early build of the unreleased iOS 14 has been circulating among hackers and security researchers since February.
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