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Google Researcher Releases iOS 11 Jailbreak Exploit

Google Project Zero researcher Ian Beer has released a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit that could pave the way for the first iOS 11 jailbreak.

The iOS vulnerabilities leveraged by Beer’s exploit are CVE-2017-13865, a kernel flaw that allows an application to read restricted memory, and CVE-2017-13861, a weakness in IOSurface that can be leveraged to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Both security holes were patched by Apple in early December with the release of iOS 11.2.

When Beer announced his intention to release an iOS exploit a few days ago, some were hoping that the researcher would release a full jailbreak. Nevertheless, many iPhone fans anticipate that the exploit made available by the Google expert will allow someone to create a jailbreak by the end of the year.

Beer has released the exploit in an effort to help security researchers analyze Apple devices by running their own tools. The exploit has been tested on iPhone 7, iPhone 6s and iPod Touch 6G running iOS 11.1.2, but the expert believes support can easily be added for other devices.

The researcher’s exploit targets task_for_pid 0 (tfp0), a function that provides access to the kernel task port and which can be useful for jailbreaking, and a local kernel debugger. Technical details and PoC code are available via the Project Zero bug tracker.

The vulnerabilities necessary for a jailbreak have become increasingly difficult to find and Apple has implemented many of the features that in the past required third-party apps and jailbroken devices. This has led to fewer researchers trying to develop exploits and fewer users needing jailbroken devices.

However, there has been a lot of interest in Beer’s exploits – even before they were actually released – and many users are hoping to see an iOS 11 jailbreak in the coming weeks.

It’s worth pointing out that even if a jailbreak is released, it will only work on devices running iOS 11.1.2 – and possibly earlier versions of iOS 11 – as Apple has already patched the vulnerabilities in iOS 11.2.

Related: PoC Released for Dangerous iOS Kernel Exploit

Related: iOS 9.1 Jailbreak Earns Hackers $1 Million Bounty

Related: Apple Pulls Jailbreak Detection App from App Store

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.