Upon closer inspection, it makes sense that Google—a company that doesn’t need to make money by selling exploits—would release a jailbreak, or at least something that comes very close to being a jailbreak.
“They are releasing the bare minimum required to allow security researchers to research iOS.”
Beer could not be reached for comment, and a Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But there’s little reason to doubt his tweet: In the past, Beer has published similar exploits for iOS 10.1.1 and 10.3.2. He has also found several 0days in iOS.
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This type of exploit will likely help disable code signing, a mechanism that ensures only code digitally signed by Apple runs on the phone. But it would not make it straightforward to install Cydia or pirated, or malicious apps, according to the former Apple security engineer, who is familiar with these types of exploits.“They would need some more vulnerabilities,” the engineer added, explaining that Beer’s exploits are tethered, meaning they don’t persist after reboot. “Most folks who want to jailbreak their phone want an untethered jailbreak, where you can reboot and all your pirated apps still work.”Those are the people who unironically post “wen eta jailbreak” (a jailbreaking inside joke) when someone like Todesco tweets about the iPhone.Judging by the reactions to Beer’s tweet, many people expect a full jailbreak, and they’re probably going to be disappointed. But security researchers are bound to be excited by this upcoming release. Now, thanks to Google, they will more easily be able to achieve a full jailbreak for a version of iOS that many people are still using. So, a reminder: Update your software. Or if you’re a security researcher or have other reason to do it, happy hacking.Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.
Read more: The Motherboard Guide To Not Getting Hacked