Jailbreaking iPhones and iPads have somewhat fallen out of fashion because of two things. One is that Apple has addressed some of the pain points that previously made jailbreaking ideal, or even necessary. The second is that each new update made it harder and harder to find ways to jailbreak iOS. Some seem to have even given up on jailbreaking because of the latter. Hope, however, springs eternal with a new tool that could be the gateway to jailbreaking iPhones today and tomorrow. And, somewhat ironically, the tool comes from within Google HQ.
To be clear, Google itself didn’t make or directly released this tool. Instead, the tool was born from Google’s Project Zero, a project that encourages and helps security researchers (and hackers) find bugs and exploits in software, be it Google’s own or others’. Of course, the purpose is not to take advantage of those but to help software makers patch up those holes.
Being one of the hardiest platforms and also the most popular, iOS has always been a big target for bug bounties like this. The tool, made by famed bug hunter Ian Beer, is meant to make it easier to find such bugs. It has been tested to work on the iPhone 7, 6s, and iPod Touch 3G, but Beer claims it should be easy to add other devices to that list.
Although primarily a tool to hunt bugs, it could also become a tool to make jailbreaking a bit easier. Jailbreaking, after all, involves exploiting security holes in order to gain elevated access to iOS internals. Beer even announced that he was able to find and will publish an exploit on the newly released iOS 11.1.2. It usually takes weeks, if not months, for exploits to be found in new releases.
Of course, it’s not yet a sure deal as finding a bug and exploiting it enough to cause a jailbreak are different but related things. Then there’s also the fact that such bugs get submitted to Apple, who has already fixed that new security hole. As always, it’s a game of cat and mouse, and the cat is winning most of the time.