For the first time in years, a hacker has been able to release a jailbreak an iPhone running the current iOS. This was made possible after Apple accidentally opened up a security loophole in iPhone software version 12.4.
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The current iOS version 12.4 apparently contains a known vulnerability that Apple had originally closed in iOS 12.3. Since exploit code exists, the hacker Pwn20wnd adapted his jailbreak tool Unc0ver and published it online on Github.
This is the first time in years that a Jailbreak for a current iOS version is available for free. Meanwhile, Pwn20wnd has also integrated support for current iOS devices with A12 and A12X processors. The hacker wrote on Twitter that there is still a long way to go before complete support is available for devices such as the iPhone XS, is available. Some users have reported on Twitter that they have successfully cracked their iPhone already.
Known security holes mean danger
While some are happy, others warn. iOS security expert Jonathan Levin told Motherboard magazine that the vulnerability was a known issue for more than 100 days. The devices on which a jailbreak can now be performed are therefore also susceptible, in principle, to attacks via this security gap. Security expert Stefan Esser also warned iPhone users on Twitter of the danger posed by this reopened security gap.
I hope people are aware that with a public jailbreak being available for the latest iOS 12.4 people must be very careful what Apps they download from the Apple AppStore. Any such app could have a copy of the jailbreak in it.— Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) August 19, 2019
Especially since there is another vulnerability in the Webkit HTML rendering engine used by iOS, iPhone users are generally at risk. Esser also sees a danger because the source code for jailbreaks was usually not available before. Theoretically, even inexperienced developers could build an app with malicious code in it now. Apple will probably close the security gap in iOS 12.4.1, making the jailbreak impossible again.
The jailbreak practice began, among other things, to remove SIM locks from iOS devices. But also to circumvent the restrictions of the Apple ecosystem and to be able to install apps from alternative app stores. The first jailbreak appeared days after the launch of the first iPhone. In the recent past, however, jailbreaks were only available for older iOS versions.