A few days after the release of iOS 13.5 (here the news), a group of hackers, called Unc0ver – as reported by Wired – shared a new tool to jailbreak the iPhone. It can be installed using the AltStore and Cydia ed platforms it works on the latest iOS versions, from 11 until 13.5. It was the same team that explained to Wired that the jailbreak “is stable, does not drain the battery and allows you to continue using proprietary services such as Apple Pay, iCloud or iMessage”. Not only, the jailbreak would not be a problem for the user’s personal data: they would, in fact, be protected and the security of the iOS sandbox would not be compromised, which allows the programs to be run separately. In this way, no app can access information contained within others.
Who created it
Despite the reassurances, it must be emphasized that the tool is not open source, therefore it will not be possible to analyze it, even if some security researchers were able to test it before the release, confirming its effective functioning. The main developer is Pwn20wnd who explains to Wired: “This jailbreak adds exceptions to the existing rules, it only allows the reading of new jailbreak files and parts of the file system that do not contain user data”. Pwn20wnd was already known by the community, because less than a year ago, in August, he released a jailbreak that exploited a flaw brought back to life by Apple itself.
Because it is risky
Today as then, the user’s recommendations remain valid: the arrival of a jailbreak, in fact, could involve a greater risk of attacks by hackers, able to use the new tool to install malware and compromise the victims’ devices. Although Apple has worked to avoid similar situations, particularly since 2015, with the introduction of a new kernel security feature called Rootless, it seems that the developers are reacting to revive the jailbreak phenomenon. In September 2019, for example, the axiomX user released checkm8, a tool capable of exploiting a vulnerability present in the bootroom of Apple devices to make jailbreak permanent. And now Pwn20wnd is once again making users happy, revealing that they have exploited a so-called zero-day vulnerability: this means that Apple is not aware of this flaw and therefore cannot correct it quickly.
Two or three weeks to close the “hole”
The Unc0ver group, as well as other independent security researchers, believe that in Cupertino it will take two to three weeks to fix the vulnerability that is found in the iOS kernel, a key element of the operating system. Contacted by Wired, Apple has not released any comments for the moment. Cupertino, however, is in the position of having to defend its reputation for the safety of its devices. A clear example is what is happening with Zerodium, a company that buys zero-day flaws from researchers to resell them at a higher price: if previously the iOS vulnerabilities were well paid, given their scarcity, now the company has announced who will no longer buy it for a couple of months, due to the numerous leaks previously received. A choice that indirectly indicates a greater ease of “piercing” Apple’s operating system.
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