Apple Updates iPhone OS to Fix Vulnerability - Disables JailBreaking
Published on: 17th Jul 2011
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
By: Ian Mansfield
Apple has released an update to the iPhone iOS operating system that simultaneously fixes a serious flaw in how PDF files are rendered but also then shuts down the more popular jailbreaking apps that made use of that flaw.
The security update fixes a long known bug that allowed malicious PDF files to affect the phone and take over the handset if you viewed the pdf file via the built-in application.
However, that same vulnerability had also been exploited by software apps that unlocked the handset from Apple control -- so-called jailbreaking -- so that users could install their own apps into the handsets.
Although the vulnerability has so far been used for benign purposes, there have been increasing warnings from security consultants that the hole had to be patched before genuinely malicious viruses or trojans were developed by hackers.
Last week, Apple acknowledged the issue and promised a fix via an upcoming software update. "Apple takes security very seriously," a spokesperson said.
Users who want to retain the ability to jailbreak their phone, but want to close down the security problem are being advised to download a bug fix for the PDF viewer from the independent App Store, Cydia and not download the official Apple OS upgrade.
When the iPhone 5 is released, it almost certainly will ship without the vulnerability, making jailbreaking a more challenging prospect for the next generation of iPhone users.