Apple jailbreak patch already circumvented

News by Dan Raywood

An Apple patch for a jailbreak vulnerability has already been broken.

An Apple patch for a jailbreak vulnerability has already been broken.

At the end of last week, Apple released an iOS update to version 4.3.4 to close a hole used by the website ‘JailbreakMe' that appeared earlier this month. Two of the fixes in the update were for font handling issues in PDFs that allow for remote code execution, while the third fix was in the graphics handling code and can be exploited to allow for elevation of privilege.

Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos Canada, said that the ‘JailbreakMe' hack used at least two of the three flaws to jailbreak the iDevices by initially downloading a PDF to gain the ability to run arbitrary code and then sending down a PNG file that elevated itself to root to perform the jailbreak.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle, said: “Apple released this fix less than ten days from the time it went public on 6th July, just like they did last time there was a serious jailbreak vulnerability. These vulnerabilities have been getting a lot of attention from security researchers because the exploits appear to overcome a number of security features on the iPhone. If this turns out to be the case, Apple could be in for some serious problems.”

However Paul Ducklin, head of technology for Sophos Asia Pacific, said that the jailbreakers are claiming to be back in, with reports claiming that a new jailbreak is available.

According to, this new jailbreak method does not work for iPad2 users and cannot be done by visiting a website. Wannabe jailbreakers will need to do a tethered jailbreak and need to re-jailbreak the device every time they reboot.

Ducklin said: “Nevertheless, Apple's latest security fix has been circumvented already. With this in mind, the tricky question becomes ‘whom should I trust more, Apple or the jailbreakers?' I can't answer that question and if your iDevice is provided by your company, you shouldn't try to answer it by yourself.

“So if you're thinking of jailbreaking, ask yourself, ‘do I distrust the jailbreakers?' If not, then jailbreaking may be for you. Just be sure to read all the security guidelines associated with the process and be sure you have the explicit permission of the owner of the device.”


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Video and interviews