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The Facts About Jailbreaking iOS Devices

While jailbreaking an iPhone seems to open up the device to limitless possibilities, it is actually, in fact, a large security risk for your phone. Jailbreaking can allow users to bypass many iOS restrictions they might consider limiting, such as being only able to download apps from the Apple iOS App Store and other types of personal customizations of the device. However, this also means that cybercriminals have access to a much larger security hole to attack the device. 

All Apple devices carry a “sandboxing” feature that is native in all OS’s. Sandboxing is a program that essentially keeps third party apps out of your operating system and away from sensitive areas of your phone such as your address book, emails and text messages. Sandboxing only allows those apps certain permissions to your information Which is why these apps “ask” for permission to access other functions of the device through pop-ups notifications that are to be approved by the device user. Once you take away the sandbox, any app can access all of your private information without having to ask for permission, including malicious apps posing as legitimate apps.

One of the reasons obtaining apps through Apple’s official App Store is safe is because the company has very strict guidelines and conducts rigorous reviews of each and every App in its store. This process makes it much harder for many apps to get in, due to those guidelines and reviews. Therefore, the App Store is more secure than third-party app markets. In the case of third-party app stores, cybercriminals will often craft copies of legitimate apps to sneak in their malware. Once the malware is on the device, it can gain access to all of your private information because there is no sandbox to keep it out of your OS. Your privacy and your financial information could be easily accessed and exposed.


Tips for iOS device security:

If possible, your best bet is to avoid jailbreaking the device. If you absolutely must do so, be aware of the security implications mentioned above in doing so.

Physical Security:

  • Always lock your phone with a secure PIN number or password. The longer the PIN better. By locking the device, it helps ensure that information won’t end up in the hands of the wrong person if your phone is ever lost or stolen. 
  • Perform regular backups. In the event that something does happen to your phone, you won’t lose all your data. With a new phone in hand, you can easily restore all of your data and settings.

Be App Aware:

  • Take the time to read the reviews of apps in the app store – the rating and the reviews of the app can and will tell you something.
  • Look at when the app was published – how do you feel about using a brand new app or one that is used by few people? How does that fit with your tolerance for risk?
  • Pay attention to what the app is asking permission to do. Is a game app asking for your location information? Is a news app asking for access to your contacts? If it seems strange to you, don’t allow permission until you find out how the app is using this information by reading its terms of use policy.
  • Make sure that apps are only allowed from the Mac App Store and Identified developers.
Labels: iOS