Apple To Patch iOS Security Hole Exploited By Jailbreakme 3.0

Yesterday we reported that the iPad had finally been Jailbroken, allowing users to simply visit the jailbreakme website on their iOS device to install the unofficial Cydia app store. We also saw that Apple has reached the milestone of 15 billion app downloads. Apple is certainly a big player in the mobile market, and the discovery of this new way of Jailbreaking their devices has revealed to them a security hole in their system.

iPhonehacks.com is reporting that Apple will soon be releasing a new version of their iOS platform, iOS 4.3.4. This patch may simply be a security fix with the big new features coming with iOS 5 later this year. The reason that a security patch is necessary is not just to block the Jailbreaking community. Jailbreakme 3.0 uses an exploit to allow users to install unofficial software on their devices, meaning somebody else could create malware which could take advantage of this security hole which could then take over people’s devices, or steal their data.

An Apple spokeswoman is quoted as saying that the company is “aware of this reported issue and developing a fix that will be available to customers in an upcoming software update.” No date or timeframe has been given so we have no idea when the update will be available. For those who have jailbroken their devices, you can install PDF Patcher 2 from the Cydia app store which will plug the security hole and prevent malware from getting onto your system.

For everybody else, it’s another huge iOS update. I have a few problems with the way Apple does their updates. First of all, to get the update you need to download the entirety of the new version of iOS, meaning a 600mb plus download. That might be fine for those with 20mb internet connections with no cap, but for those with a slow internet connection which is under a cap find themselves in a difficult position. Do you spend a couple of hours waiting for it to download or do you risk having a vulnerable device?

When I patch a video game through Steam I get an add-on file which adds extra code to the game folder rather than having to download the whole game again. Secondly, it’s mandatory for these patches to be downloaded and you can’t play your game without downloading them. With Apple devices, it’s up to the user. I have friends with iOS devices that don’t even update their apps, let alone their OS! So whilst those who know what they are doing are safe with their up-to-date OS, those who don’t leave themselves vulnerable to all sorts of malware.

Personally I would like to see smaller updates which at least send you notifications to let you know there’s a new version of iOS waiting for you. With iOS 5 they are releasing some major updates, so the ability to release smaller patches for security updates would be great.

Have you jailbroken your device? Does this security hole concern you? Do huge downloads prevent you from downloading critical security updates? Let us know in the comments below.