Apple disabled jailbreak detection API in iOS 4.2

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Less than six months after introducing it, Apple has quietly disabled its jailbreak detection API through the iOS 4.2 software update, according to a new report.



Network World reports that the API, which was released in June as part of a mobile device management (MDM) bundle for iOS 4.0, has been disabled in iOS 4.2, leaving perplexed vendors to question why. The API had previously allowed third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase's Afaria, to check for unauthorized modifications to the system files, author John Cox wrote.



Third-party MDM vendors had created their own utilities to check for jailbreaks, but Apple's jailbreak detection API granted MDM applications direct access to iOS system information.



"We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct," said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen. "I'm not sure what motivated their removing that....I've not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed."



Though jailbreaking an Apple device voids its warranty, the U.S. government recently legalized the process through a handful of exemptions to preexisting laws forbidding it.



Apple has been an unwilling participant in a 'cat and mouse' game with hackers. As vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited by the hacking community, Apple rushes to patch the issues, while hackers secretly move on to the next flaw.



In August, hackers released a high publicity browser-based jailbreak for the iPhone 4 that drew attention to a glaring security flaw that could have exposed users to malicious software just by visiting website.



As hackers became aware of the jailbreak detection API, they may have begun circumventing it, adding another layer to the tug-of-war between jailbreakers and Apple.



"Whatever [Apple] adds [in the OS] to detect the jailbreak, if it is to be queried from the iOS kernel, it must be accessible and have the ability to be changed," security consultant Jeremy Allen told Cox. "Meaning, if it is going to be a useful detection method it can also be circumvented. It is a fairly intractable problem to solve 100%."



The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers. Also at stake is Apple's relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks. In the U.S., for instance, the iPhone is only available through AT&T, though Verizon is expected to begin selling the iPhone early next year. Users looking to use their locked iPhones on other carriers often jailbreak and unlock their handsets.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    Quote:

    Also at stake is Apple's relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks.



    Will there ever be an article where the writer understands that jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking?
  • Reply 2 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post


    Will there ever be an article where the writer understands that jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking?



    I understand it. If it's not clear enough, I'll make some changes though.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post


    Will there ever be an article where the writer understands that jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking?



    When you figure out how to unlock a phone without a jailbreak, I'm sure some folks would like to know.
  • Reply 4 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joshong View Post


    I understand it. If it's not clear enough, I'll make some changes though.



    Cool... because in that last paragraph you imply that jailbreaking allows users to switch to other carriers
  • Reply 5 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Matthew Yohe View Post


    When you figure out how to unlock a phone without a jailbreak, I'm sure some folks would like to know.



    Hmmm, I don't know. I do know that when I jailbroke my phone it was still locked to AT&T.
  • Reply 6 of 79
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Matthew Yohe View Post


    When you figure out how to unlock a phone without a jailbreak, I'm sure some folks would like to know.



    Buy it in Australia, like my unlocked, unjailbroken iphone.



    Shouldn't the proper term be rooted?



    Gaining access to root in order to install a customised ROM, like Android and other handsets as it involves similar processes.
  • Reply 7 of 79
    enohpienohpi Posts: 103member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers.





    Jailbreaking is a bigger threat to iOS developers than anything else, even Android.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enohpI View Post


    Jailbreaking is a bigger threat to iOS developers than anything else, even Android.



    Yes, but most of us that Jailbreak do not hack app store apps. I pay for what I use. Plain and simple. I do not want another PSP where no one wants to create apps for it. Right now my biggest reason for Jailbreaking has become my AppleTV. Only streaming my iPod videos is not what I bought my aTV 2.0 for.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Greetings from atop my volcano in central america. There is no one else here so I claim it for myself. Apple should not be concerned with jail breaking as they have now achieved critical mass. Like God Mode on Windows, nobody cares outside of a few geeks so... be and let be, no harm no foul, onwards and upwards, they have bigger fish to fry, frankly my dear I don't give a damn. Wow you should see the view from here - that is as soon as the sun comes up.
  • Reply 10 of 79
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Evidence please? Jailbreaking is Apple's and it's developers friend. When Apple goofed and offered it's first phone for over $500, it was jailbreaking that helped the phone fly off the shelves. Millions were bought specifically to jailbreak. That assisted in creating a huge market for ios applications.



    Now jailbreaking is making Apple money through its App store. For instance, this week alone I have spent twenty dollars on various applications. I am on T-Moble through a jailbroken unlocked phone. I wouldn't be making those purchases if AT&T was my only option. Go on EBay and Craiglst. There is a huge market for unlocked phones.



    Stealing applications through Apple's store isn't as easy as some sites make it seem. I am pretty tech savvy and I have no clue how to do it. Further, even if I did and I wanted to steal should applications I would be fearful that my actions would be traceable. Not risking the trouble I would be if caught for a dollar application.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enohpI View Post


    Jailbreaking is a bigger threat to iOS developers than anything else, even Android.



  • Reply 11 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enohpI View Post


    Jailbreaking is a bigger threat to iOS developers than anything else, even Android.



    That is what they want you to believe but it's horse pucky. Very few jailbreakers install pirated software.

    1) It's difficult to hack the app signing.

    2) It's not worth it; most apps are just $1.

    3) We actually buy MORE software like tethering apps and other hacks thru Cydia.



    So please stop with this "Jailbreaking will kill the iOS app market" junk. Please?
  • Reply 12 of 79
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Evidence please? Jailbreaking is Apple's and it's developers friend. When Apple goofed and offered it's first phone for over $500, it was jailbreaking that helped the phone fly off the shelves. Millions were bought specifically to jailbreak. That assisted in creating a huge market for ios applications.



    Now jailbreaking is making Apple money through its App store. For instance, this week alone I have spent twenty dollars on various applications. I am on T-Moble through a jailbroken unlocked phone. I wouldn't be making those purchases if AT&T was my only option. Go on EBay and Craiglst. There is a huge market for unlocked phones.



    Stealing applications through Apple's store isn't as easy as some sites make it seem. I am pretty tech savvy and I have no clue how to do it. Further, even if I did and I wanted to steal should applications I would be fearful that my actions would be traceable. Not risking the trouble I would be if caught for a dollar application.



    1) He is an old troll with a new handle so I wouldn?t assume his post is sincere.



    2) I?ve spent about $50 in the last couple months on apps from Cydia in the last couple months, and have only spent 99¢ on an iPad app, Atomic Browser, in that time frame.



    3) All apps on my jailbroken iPhone are paid for, if the developer requests it. I can?t say it?s as stable or without issue from time-to-time and the method to update an app isn?t as clean as for App Store apps, but, for me, the pros certainly outstrip the cons.



    4) I can?t wait for the untethered version of 4.2.1 to drop. Apparently it was figured out without wasting an iOS exploit. I wonder how many the dev teams are sitting on for a rain day.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    That is what they want you to believe but it's horse pucky. Very few jailbreakers install pirated software.

    1) It's difficult to hack the app signing.

    2) It's not worth it; most apps are just $1.

    3) We actually buy MORE software like tethering apps and other hacks thru Cydia.



    So please stop with this "Jailbreaking will kill the iOS app market" junk. Please?



    Re: point 1

    It's very easy. Just install a patch from Cydia and you can bypass all DRM limitations I.e. To install all unsigned or cracked IPAs. App piracy is a major problem in developing markets although not in the US.
  • Reply 14 of 79
    iaxiax Posts: 4member
    Apple does not care about jailbreaking, it still gets the money for the hardware, and release them of any warranty obligations. What's not to like?

    On the other hand, most people who jailbreak their iPhones are either morons or geeks (same thing).
  • Reply 15 of 79
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) He is an old troll with a new handle so I wouldn?t assume his post is sincere.



    It is hard to deny that many jailbreakers do steal apps. It can be a real problem for a developer selling low volume apps at reasonable prices.

    Quote:



    2) I?ve spent about $50 in the last couple months on apps from Cydia in the last couple months, and have only spent 99¢ on an iPad app, Atomic Browser, in that time frame.



    I've not jailbroken my iPhone yet so all apps come from app store. I'm not dead set against Jailbreaking though, but at the moment iPhone is the only iOS device I have so no jailbreak for me. Even then I'd need a compelling reason to do so.

    Quote:

    3) All apps on my jailbroken iPhone are paid for, if the developer requests it. I can?t say it?s as stable or without issue from time-to-time and the method to update an app isn?t as clean as for App Store apps, but, for me, the pros certainly outstrip the cons.



    Let me tell you about my 3G running iOS 4.0. Talk about unstable! Anyone, Apple included, can pull a boner when developing software so I would not focus to heavily on the Jailbreak or the apps. One reason I resist jailbreaking is the issue of support for my iPhone if I should need to get it serviced fast. Frankly iPhone is the only phone I have of any type so I don't want a hassle if I need to upgrade, repair or whatever real quick.

    Quote:

    4) I can?t wait for the untethered version of 4.2.1 to drop. Apparently it was figured out without wasting an iOS exploit. I wonder how many the dev teams are sitting on for a rain day.



    Actually I'm waiting on a clean AppleTV jailbreak. For $99 you get a really low power but high performance little network node. The potential is extreme for AppleTV. More importantly if it goes down for a dAy or two no big deal. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jailbreak community becomes as big as all of the rest of the iOS devices.
  • Reply 16 of 79
    Dammnit I want an *untethered* jailbreak for 4.2.1
  • Reply 17 of 79
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I would say it is neither hard to deny or admit. There simply is no evidence either way other then a few stories on the Internet suggesting such theft is possible. It seems to be implied that because it is possible to steal the applications that it is a wide spread problem. It isn't like finding software for a Mac or PC online. That is pretty easy, and moreover, the software for computers is expensive. For the iPhone, most software both from Cydia and the application store is reasonably priced. I mean come on Rage HD was a buck.



    I have jail broken my phone, and I also get all my applications from the Apple Store. Yet, it i nice knowing a have an alternative through Cydia if Apple's PG rated mind tells me I can't have an application I really want.



    As far as service goes, if you know what you are doing you can fully restore your jailbroken phone to factory state if needed. Though you have to be real careful that you know what you are doing or you could have problems restoring the phone.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It is hard to deny that many jailbreakers do steal apps. It can be a real problem for a developer selling low volume apps at reasonable prices.



    I've not jailbroken my iPhone yet so all apps come from app store. I'm not dead set against Jailbreaking though, but at the moment iPhone is the only iOS device I have so no jailbreak for me. Even then I'd need a compelling reason to do so.



    Let me tell you about my 3G running iOS 4.0. Talk about unstable! Anyone, Apple included, can pull a boner when developing software so I would not focus to heavily on the Jailbreak or the apps. One reason I resist jailbreaking is the issue of support for my iPhone if I should need to get it serviced fast. Frankly iPhone is the only phone I have of any type so I don't want a hassle if I need to upgrade, repair or whatever real quick.





    Actually I'm waiting on a clean AppleTV jailbreak. For $99 you get a really low power but high performance little network node. The potential is extreme for AppleTV. More importantly if it goes down for a dAy or two no big deal. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jailbreak community becomes as big as all of the rest of the iOS devices.



  • Reply 18 of 79
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I save $50 a month on my unlocked iPhone by using T-Mobile which 1) has better rate plans, and 2) doesn't require me to have an expensive data plan. That is over a five hundred dollar a year savings. I am neither a geek or moron, I am just cheap and like T-Mobile better.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iax View Post


    Apple does not care about jailbreaking, it still gets the money for the hardware, and release them of any warranty obligations. What's not to like?

    On the other hand, most people who jailbreak their iPhones are either morons or geeks (same thing).



  • Reply 19 of 79
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I am still on 4.0. I figured if everything was working great I wasn't going to mess with anything until I could upgrade to 4.2 safely. Apparently, I can upgrade to 4.2 right now and have an untethered jailbreak because I have the old boot rom on my 3GS. My understanding though is I need to hold off on upgrading because I unlocked the phone with ultrasnow and my unlock would be at risk. I am waiting semi-patiently for one of the dev team geniuses out there to give me a thumbs up.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    4) I can?t wait for the untethered version of 4.2.1 to drop. Apparently it was figured out without wasting an iOS exploit. I wonder how many the dev teams are sitting on for a rain day.



  • Reply 20 of 79
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Evidence please? ....Millions were bought specifically to jailbreak....




    Evidence please?



    I find it very hard to believe that "millions" of the original iPhone were sold specifically to jailbreak. I even find it hard to believe that "millions" of all iPhones ever sold have been jailbroken. Most people don't choose to do things that void their warranty.
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