It’s been an interesting 24 hours in the world of security, with the ominously named Hacking Team themselves being hacked, resulting in 400GB of its data being strewn across the Internet. Inside that data people are finding all kinds of things, not least a price list which details the services Hacking Team offered to those willing to pay the cash – including governments.
Of particular interest to our community is the entry on Hacking Team’s price list which mentioned the hacking of jailbroken iOS devices. Priced at $55,000, the entry includes details of what the hack would make available as well as an important caveat.
Once breached, Hacking Team says that the attacked jailbroken iOS device could be monitored in a variety of ways, with Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber all left wide open while location data and other system-level information would also be available for extraction. That means that once Hacking Team has managed to get into the jailbroken iOS device which it was targeting, the level of information it could glean is rather worrisome.
As Hacking Team admits, it can only get its claws into an iOS device that is jailbroken, however, it’s not quite that simple.
As research has found in the past, if Hacking Team or another malicious entity was to infect a computer which a jailbroken iOS device was connected to, they could in theory infect that device remotely via a handful of different tools. In reality the chances of that happening to anyone reading this is slim, though it is feasibly possible, and we have seen it happen in the past, with WireLurker being an example of such a thing.
So, should jailbroken users be worried? Probably not. Various members of the jailbreak community have been quick to point out that now is not quite the time to panic, with Beetling, who works with Saurik on Cydia, taking to Reddit to issue a long post on the subject. Worth a read if you are worried about iOS security, the post goes into detail about the potential threat. The TL;DR version of the post is this: don’t download apps, games or packages which you think are somewhat shady in nature. Don’t add sketchy repositories in Cydia either. Be as vigilant as possible while surfing through the interwebs.
The best way to try and keep your jailbroken device safe from remote hacking is by always keeping yourself on the latest version of iOS which the jailbreak supports, and by using OpenSSH instead of AFC2 for file system access. Also if you are using OpenSSH, don’t forget to change your default root password using an app like MobileTerminal.
At this point it’s important to note that nothing Hacking Team is capable of is anything we didn’t already know about. Keeping up to date with software updates and staying away form sketchy apps, tweaks and repositories is without doubt the best way to stay safe.