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Hacker: jailbreaking iOS 6 hard, 6.1 may prove impossible

updated 11:15 pm EST, Mon December 24, 2012

Forthcoming update adds yet more resilient code

Jailbreaking an iOS device in order to install unofficial apps, add customization options or simply to unlock a locked device has gotten tougher, as evidenced by the hacking community's inability to produce an untethered jailbreak for iOS 6. In a recent tweet, hacker i0n1c has revealed that the forthcoming iOS 6.1 update adds "again tougher protections" to the codebase even compared to iOS 6, suggesting that security has been dramatically improved.

While many users have perfectly legitimate reasons (beyond just wanting to) for jailbreaking their iOS devices, because the technique relies on finding an exploitable "hole" in the OS code that could also be used for malicious purposes, Apple is naturally very eager to close up avenues by which unofficial or dangerous code could be injected into the device -- even though many "unofficial" apps are simply ones that were rejected by Apple for App Store guideline violations, mostly for altering core OS elements.

Closing down jailbreaking loopholes will also close off one of the principle sources of pirated apps, also giving Apple considerable incentive to cut off the practice. Holes in Android code are frequently used to install scamware, malware, privacy-compromising and even virus-ridden apps -- a growing problem for Google, though the ability to heavily customize and "root" Android devices is a major selling point to the most technically-proficient of Android's audience.

The hacker community believes that iOS 6 will eventually get an "untethered" (meaning "persistent through restarts") jailbreak, but that iOS 6.1 may represent the end of the free jailbreaking road. The security may simply have reached a point where only those likely to sell any remaining exploit secrets are likely to be able to come up with any.

Apple has made security a top priority on iOS, since it is the only platform where malware is all but completely unknown. Many of the security improvements made in iOS have also been transferred to the Mac as applicable, including complete sandboxing of applications and developer "signatures" on apps.

In his tweet, i0n1c refers to a "changing of the guard" that has brought much-improved security to iOS. It's unknown if this refers to Craig Federighi's recent promotion to handle both iOS and OS X, or if this is a reference to Kristin Paget, a top white-hat hacker herself who is now listed on LinkedIn as a "Core OS Security Researcher" at Apple.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    I am so glad that the freeloading hoar are going to be cut out of riding on developer's coat tails. For the tiny bit of supposed 'good' that they think they bring to the table, they deserve harsh punishment for the thefts most of them are involved with.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Thread Implosion in

    3...

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    1...

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    I've said, all along, that it was just a matter of time before Apple completely shut down jailbreaking. And it sounds like time's up.

    But really, "unofficial" usually means "pirated." Am I right here folks?

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by SockRolidView Post


    I've said, all along, that it was just a matter of time before Apple completely shut down jailbreaking. And it sounds like time's up.
    But really, "unofficial" usually means "pirated." Am I right here folks?


    No, there are a number of reasons to jailbreak an iOS device that have nothing to do with piracy.

    For instance, my iOS 5 phone is jailbroken because I think the AT&T tethering fees are literally immoral. I've also appreciated being able to change my default browser to Chrome where my bookmarks are synced, and in adding on other features I feel are of value such as RingerX VIP.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-07-07

    Disagreeing with AT&T's terms of service and jailbreaking to steal the service is not a legitimate reason to jailbreak. Canceling service and going with another provider that includes that would be the right route to take.

    Some of the other features, such as changing the default browser, etc, are legit reasons. With enough push, Apple might be willing to make those features available without jailbreak requirements.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by bjojadeView Post


    Disagreeing with AT&T's terms of service and jailbreaking to steal the service is not a legitimate reason to jailbreak. Canceling service and going with another provider that includes that would be the right route to take.
    Some of the other features, such as changing the default browser, etc, are legit reasons. With enough push, Apple might be willing to make those features available without jailbreak requirements.


    I disagree, I'm not stealing anything. I've paid for my data, all I'm doing is deciding how I use what I've already paid for.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    I disagree, I'm not stealing anything. I've paid for my data, all I'm doing is deciding how I use what I've already paid for.



    Strictly speaking, you agreed to AT&T's terms when you signed the contract, so if you jailbreak to use the data in a manner not allowed under the contract, what you're doing is not legitimate, and AT&T would be perfectly justified in canceling your service. (And they might or might not be justified in asking Apple to report anyone who does what you are doing, too.)

    The terms of that contract were provided to you before you signed on; you had a full opportunity to simply say "you know, I don't want these terms, I'll go elsewhere" but instead you went ahead. So don't start whining now.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Originally Posted by SockRolidView Post

    I've said, all along, that it was just a matter of time before Apple completely shut down jailbreaking. And it sounds like time's up.
    But really, "unofficial" usually means "pirated." Am I right here folks?



    No, you are not correct.

    Unofficial simply means "not in the App Store." While I don't doubt that some people jailbreak to pirate apps (and shame on them), my sense is that the majority do it to gain access to custom-modification type apps which are either free or paid, but are NOT pirated iOS apps.

    I jailbroke my original iPhone after the warranty was up, and IIRC I installed an app from Cydia to allow video recording, another one to make certain controls easier to reach (like turning BT on or off in WAY fewer steps), things like that. Abilities no App Store app at the time offered. Also, I wanted to unlock my iPhone and at the time AT&T would not do it. I was out of contract, it was my iPhone now, I should be able to unlock it if I want to. So I did.

    I would NEVER pirate an iOS app. In summary, jailbreaking CAN be about pirating but it isn't always (or even, based on my experience in talking with JBers, mostly) about that. It's more about gaining access to some customizing controls Apple doesn't allow for one reason or another, near as I can tell.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by The VicarView Post



    Strictly speaking, you agreed to AT&T's terms when you signed the contract, so if you jailbreak to use the data in a manner not allowed under the contract, what you're doing is not legitimate, and AT&T would be perfectly justified in canceling your service. (And they might or might not be justified in asking Apple to report anyone who does what you are doing, too.)
    The terms of that contract were provided to you before you signed on; you had a full opportunity to simply say "you know, I don't want these terms, I'll go elsewhere" but instead you went ahead. So don't start whining now.


    I know this, but this doesn't make it morally okay for them to do this. I'm completely comfortable doing what I'm doing, and will continue to do so without losing sleep.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    I know this, but this doesn't make it morally okay for them to do this. I'm completely comfortable doing what I'm doing, and will continue to do so without losing sleep.



    Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that you willingly agreed to what AT&T put in front of you, basically saying, "Yes, I agree to use your network in the ways and only the ways you've outlined in this contract that I am agreeing to in full."

    While you may not feel any guilt about doing what you're doing (and I wouldn't either), you've put yourself at a serious legal disadvantage if anything were to ever come of it.

    There are other networks that provide fast, nationwide coverage and allow you to use your phone and your data plan in the way you've described you're using it now. Why you would willingly submit yourself to the torture of AT&T when there are alternatives is beyond me!

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by DiabloConQuesoView Post



    Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that you willingly agreed to what AT&T put in front of you, basically saying, "Yes, I agree to use your network in the ways and only the ways you've outlined in this contract that I am agreeing to in full."
    While you may not feel any guilt about doing what you're doing (and I wouldn't either), you've put yourself at a serious legal disadvantage if anything were to ever come of it.
    There are other networks that provide fast, nationwide coverage and allow you to use your phone and your data plan in the way you've described you're using it now. Why you would willingly submit yourself to the torture of AT&T when there are alternatives is beyond me!


    There weren't any in my area at the time of my contract initiation.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 01-15-03

    In my country contracts have less weight. If you think a term is "unconscionable" you can basically ignore it and get clarification in the courts. Of course the risk is on you to prove its unconscionable. Cell phone companies will just cancel service vs risk losing a clarification in court. I've won on rental contracts through arbitration on unconscionable terms a couple times now with my own personal experience in fighting bad terms in contracts.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Is there room for me in this discussion? ok, so I believe the updates crApple makes are in tune with making a totally CONTROLLED ecosystem. It's getting more and more intolerable as time goes on. Hey AAPL.... see you in the $400s this year.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    Is there room for me in this discussion? ok, so I believe the updates crApple makes are in tune with making a totally CONTROLLED ecosystem. It's getting more and more intolerable as time goes on. Hey AAPL.... see you in the $400s this year.


    There is always room for rational discussion, but the problem is your posts scream of irrationality. Your childish insistence on calling Apple crApple requires suspending disbelief even before your point is considered.

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