Research & Development
Software & IT
Google released a tool that allows security researchers, and other developers, to hack into iOS 11.1.2, software that could lead to a jailbreak for devices running that OS version.
Created by noted iOS bug hunter Ian Beer, the tool released this week takes advantage of an exploit called “tfp0,” which has since been patched in Apple’s latest iOS 11.2 release, Apple Insider reported.
Beer, a member of Google’s Project Zero, says the tool is designed to help security researchers test the security layers of iOS without curating their own exploits. The tool was tested on iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPod touch 6G, but Beer is confident it will work on all devices.
The Google researcher pre-announced the release in a tweet last week, sparking hope of a fresh exploit for Apple’s famously secure operating system.
For the jailbreaking community, an un-patched exploit represents a rare and valuable opportunity to bootstrap an iPhone jailbreak. Because Apple’s OS is so secure, researchers who find exploits or bugs often opt to sell them to third parties, or collect a bug bounty from Apple, instead of making them publicly available.
For Google, the tool is a means to an end for security researchers looking for previously unreported bugs. The exploit effectively acts as an inroad into iOS, providing developers access to root around in the OS until Apple issues a fix. Though iOS 11.2 patches the hole, Apple is still signing for iOS 11.1.2, meaning users can install the vulnerable iOS version on current hardware.
Due to its maturity as a platform and built-in security protocols, iOS jailbreaks are few and far between. According to Can I Jailbreak, a site dedicated to tracking iOS jailbreaks, the latest jailbreak affects iOS 10 and does not function on iPhone 7.
Despite early popularity with users who wanted to add customizations to their iPhone beyond those offered within Apple’s walled garden, jailbreaking has become somewhat of a dying art. While a jailbreak for iOS 11 has yet to surface, Beer’s contribution will likely hasten the process.