While mobile security experts have been saying for several years that jailbreaking devices running Apple’s iOS platform has become increasingly complicated, at least one individual has found a way to circumvent Cupertino’s new restrictions and install Cydia. Researcher Liang Chen from Tencent Keen Lab has been able to exploit some vulnerabilities found in iOS 12. This allowed Chen to post a video that seems to show a genuine iPhone X that’s been jailbroken.
Technicians have been searching for a method to release a fully untethered jailbreak for newer Apple devices for some time now, and this is the first sign that such a feat is even possible. It should be noted, however, that Chen was working with the iOS 12 beta 1 release. Apple’s engineers will surely have plenty of time to patch these vulnerabilities before the operating system is released to the public.
Nevertheless, there was quite a bit of media excitement over the announcement. The jailbroken iPhone X was apparently compromised through a kernel exploit and it seems to support third-party packages as well. While it would be difficult to install Cydia bundles on production iOS devices, it seems like Jay Freeman’s package manager worked.
It’s not unusual for iOS beta editions to contain easily exploitable vulnerabilities, so it’s no surprise that iOS 12 has some issues with it at the moment. News releases surrounding the exploit shouldn’t be taken as a suggestion that the new version of Apple’s popular mobile platform will at all be unsafe.
Liang Chen doesn’t even appear to have any ambitions regarding a public release of his techniques. More than likely, his team will report the vulnerabilities to Apple’s developers who will then work to plug them.
That being said, the second beta release of iOS 12 is due out this week and it’s not hard to believe that at least one or two other researchers will try to install the Cydia package manager on this new version as well. Considering Apple’s recent history of locking their OS down, that will certainly be a challenge.
Earlier this year, Coolstar released Electra packages that allowed at least some users of iOS versions 11.0-11.1.2 access to unofficial packages through Cydia.