Should you risk jailbreaking your iPhone?
Chances are, if you don't know the dangers involved, you shouldn't jailbreak
Computerworld - Is a jailbroken iPhone for you?
The "evad3rs" team has published its "evasi0n" jailbreak tool (for free) to the iOS community. The team claims that in roughly a week, some 7 million users have used the tool to jailbreak their iOS devices. By any measure, the launch -- already up to Version 1.3 to support Apple's iOS 6.1.1 release on iPhone 4Ses -- has been wildly successful.
But is jailbreaking your device something you want to do? Let's consider a few issues before you dive in.
First, just what is jailbreaking? It's the process of removing the sandbox protections that Apple places in its iOS products. Its purpose is primarily to enable users to install unreviewed (by Apple) software on their iOS devices. Secondarily, it enables users to access files they normally wouldn't be permitted to, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for customizing an iOS system. Many technically inclined users find liberation in these things and loathe being locked into a sandboxed device.
There are entire unsupported (again, by Apple) communities where apps can be purchased or simply acquired for free. These communities don't have the strict curation policies that Apple employs in its App Store, and that is exactly its appeal to the jailbreakers. Indeed, many apps that were rejected by Apple over some policy violation or another have ended up in the jailbreak app communities.
Is it legal? Apparently it is, at least in the U.S. In 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office declared jailbreaking to be an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But the situation is not exactly cut and dried. See here for more information, but it seems that jailbreaking an iPhone in the U.S. remains legal, while doing the same to an iPad is not. The bottom line is this: if you're at all concerned about the legality of jailbreaking your device, you're probably well advised to abstain. And be aware too that Apple maintains that jailbreaking may well void a device's warranty.
Is it safe? The answer probably has more to do with you than with anything else. Most jailbreaks completely remove iOS's app sandboxing features, even after the device has been booted up after the jailbreak process itself. At this point, all apps essentially run in a privilege state where they can all read/write pretty much anywhere on the device. This opens up a jailbroken device to possible malware, data exfiltration and so on. Essentially, a jailbroken device has all the file protections of a Windows 3.1 system. It's a single-user device, and every app can get to everything.
More by Kenneth van Wyk
- Kenneth van Wyk: Where mobile apps go wrong
- Kenneth van Wyk: Apple's big fail
- Kenneth van Wyk: After Snowden
- Kenneth van Wyk: Target breach underscores how backward U.S. payment tech is
- Kenneth van Wyk: Enjoy your trip, but protect the data you take with you
- Kenneth van Wyk: Lingering faults with security by default
- Kenneth van Wyk: High hopes for iPhone's Touch ID
- Kenneth van Wyk: Why mobile apps beat Web apps for privacy
- Bug bounties: Bad dog! Have a treat!
- How to avoid Big Brother's gaze
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- Enterprise File Sync & Share Checklist File sync and share has changed the way people work and collaborate in today's tech-savvy world. Gone are the email roadblocks, clunky FTP...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Security White Papers | Webcasts