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Apple Patches Re-Introduced Jailbreak Vulnerability

Apple this week released patches that address a recently re-introduced vulnerability that allows hackers to jailbreak devices. 

Apple this week released patches that address a recently re-introduced vulnerability that allows hackers to jailbreak devices. 

Tracked as CVE-2019-8605, the flaw is a use after free issue that could be exploited by a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. Apple says it addressed the bug with improved memory management.

The vulnerability was discovered by Ned Williamson working with Google Project Zero, who initially reported it to Apple in March. The Cupertino-based tech giant addressed it with the release of iOS 12.2.

In July, however, Apple pushed iOS 12.4 to its users, and one of the code changes it introduced in the new platform iteration broke the previous patch, thus re-introducing the vulnerability. 

The bug allows for the jailbreaking (or rooting) of vulnerable devices. The process removes the locks Apple has in place on the system and provides users with the ability to install unofficial applications on their devices. 

Jailbreaking devices, however, also poses security risks, because of the removal of official protections and the installation of unofficial apps, which may include vulnerabilities, malicious code, or both.

On the other hand, malicious actors can target the vulnerability itself, in an attempt to run malicious code on vulnerable devices. 

One of the tools that can be used to jailbreak devices is unc0ver, developed by pwn20wnd, who received credit from Apple for assisting with the release of the new patches. 

To address CVE-2019-8605, Apple released iOS 12.4.1 for iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation. The company also pushed macOS Mojave 10.14.6 Supplemental Update and tvOS 12.4.1, both with fixes for the flaw. 

Related: Google Researchers Find Remotely Exploitable Vulnerabilities in iOS

Related: Apple Patches 22 Vulnerabilities in WebKit

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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