A conglomerate of hacking groups has released software that allows users to jailbreak Apple iPad 2 and iPhone 4S devices. The GreenPois0n Absinthe software uses a "ridiculously complex combination of exploits-within-exploits" to jailbreak Apple devices running on the A5 chipset, according to the Chronic Dev Team, one of the iOS hacking groups.
"The endless war we fight to jailbreak has become more and more difficult with each new device released, and our recent battle against A5 only proved this further," Chronic Dev Team said in a blog post on Friday.
Details about iOS exploits used by the Absinthe A5 software will be released at an as-yet unspecified conference in 2013, according to the blog post.
Hackers from the Chronic Dev Team, including group leader 'p0sixninja', collaborated with researchers from the iPhone Dev Team such as 'MuscleNerd' and 'Saurik' as part of an iOS-hacking "dream team", according to the blog post. The groups worked with other iOS researchers, including 'planetbeing', due to difficulties in hacking A5 devices.
"We finally admitted that the escalated obstacles presented by Apple's new A5 processor would not likely be overcome by one individual or team — but all together, we should be more than able to conquer any challenges encountered," said the blog post.
Apple brought out the iPad 2, running the dual-core A5 processor, in March 2011. Apple iOS 5 security features include hardware encryption.
Chronic Dev Team initially had little success in jailbreaking A5 chipset devices, so launched a tool called CDevReporter to collate crash reports, according to the blog post. The reports were used by the researchers to find holes in the iOS operating system.
Apple does not allow customers to use non-Apple-approved applications or file types, leading a number of people to download software to 'jailbreak', or hack their devices.
Jailbreaking an Apple device has benefits and risks, and is not illegal, according to security company Sophos. Benefits include the freedom to build and run software from alternative sources, and the ability to copy files of your choice without agreeing to the iTunes end-user agreement, Sophos said in a blog post on Sunday.
Risks include invalidating Apple's warranty, and installing software which may make the device unusable, said the blog post. Users are more likely to encounter malicious software, so IT managers should include a "no-jailbreaking" clause in Bring Your Own Device policies, said Sophos.