‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones is ‘playing with fire’ after hack

Posted in iPhone News by admin. Published September 3rd, 2015

‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones is ‘playing with fire’ after hack

Tech-savvy iPhone users who “jailbreak” their phones to add new features could be putting their personal information at risk, after a recent data breach revealed the iOS devices are not invulnerable to hacking.

Most smartphones, including the iPhone, are coded to work only in the way the manufacturer intended. For instance, iOS users can only use applications approved by the Apple Store, and if the app costs money, it must be paid for using an Apple account. But jailbreaking a phone allows users to remove those restrictions and add or manipulate applications as much as they want.

More than 250,000 jailbroken iPhones were recently targeted in a malware hack that saw thieves obtain a boatload of user data, including account information on the Apple Store. Hackers used a malware program called Keyraider to obtain personal information and make Apple Store purchases on users’ accounts, using their saved credit card information.

Technology expert Carmi Levy called the hack the “first significant malware outbreak that we’ve seen on iOS devices,” and a threat to anyone with a jailbroken iPhone.

“The iPhone up until now was seen as invulnerable to this kind of thing,” Levy told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday. “Clearly that’s not the case, and if you are jailbreaking your phone, you’re kind of playing with fire.”

Most smartphones, including the iPhone, are coded to work only in the way the manufacturer intended. For instance, iOS users can only use applications approved by the Apple Store, and if the app costs money, it must be paid for using an Apple account. But jailbreaking a phone allows users to remove those restrictions and add or manipulate applications as much as they want.

“If you know what you’re doing you can have all sorts of fun with it,” Levy said. “The problem is, it exposed you to all sorts of nasty things online.”

The latest “nasty thing” online is Keyraider, a program that allows hackers to access people’s usernames, passwords, Apple IDs and hardware specifications on jailbroken iPhones.2305

Levy says it’s a good idea for anyone with a jailbroken iPhone to change their password and implement two-step verification, which requires you to input a personal identification number, along with your password, to get through security checks.

“That way, even if the hackers got into your password, they’d be blocked by the other method,” he said.

The approximately quarter-million users affected by the Keyraider breach are a relatively small fraction of all iPhone owners, but they still represent a significant breach of the iOS software, Levy said.

He advises anyone with a jailbroken iPhone to keep an eye on their Apple Store purchase history, since Keyraider hackers have been known to make purchases through breached accounts.

“If you see strange activity like that, that’s a tip-off,” he said.

He also offered a simpler suggestion to avoid becoming a hacking victim: reset your phone to its factory settings.

“If your phone is jailbroken, you’ll want to un-jailbreak it,” Levy said.

[Thanks: http://www.ctvnews.ca]

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