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New exploit, dubbed checkm8, might lead to permanent jailbreak for multiple iPhone models

A new vulnerability may open a way for a jailbreak for almost every iPhone ever made. (Image via Hindustan Times)
A new vulnerability may open a way for a jailbreak for almost every iPhone ever made. (Image via Hindustan Times)
A new vulnerability found in the bootrom of iPhones ranging from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X may pave a new path for a permanent jailbreak method. While no jailbreak method that exploits the vulnerability yet exists, the iPhone hacking community has hailed the discovery as a rebirth of the jailbreak.

Jailbreaking iOS has grown more difficult every year for a little while, but the practice got a breath of fresh air last month; the launch of iOS 12.4 re-introduced an old security bug that opened the floodgates to a jailbreak for modern iPhones. Now, a recently discovered exploit could lead to a permanent jailbreak for a variety of iPhone models, ranging from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

The exploit, described by Twitter user and security researcher axi0mX, is called checkm8 (pronounced “checkmate”). The exploit uses a vulnerability in the iPhone bootrom, making it unlikely that it could be patched through software. The vulnerability is present in multiple Apple chips, from the A5 (used in the iPhone 4S) to the A11 Bionic (used in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X).

Though the exploit has been made public, there isn’t any jailbreak available that can take advantage of checkm8, at least yet. However, since the exploit operates at the bootrom level (the code an iPhone initially runs at startup before iOS begins loading), it’s likely checkm8 could be a permanent avenue for jailbreak and other processes that run unofficial code.

To that end, the iPhone hacking community is celebrating a new era of jailbreaks. Time will tell what security researchers and hackers do with the exploit, but this may be an iPhone jailbreakers dream come true.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 09 > New exploit, dubbed checkm8, might lead to permanent jailbreak for multiple iPhone models
Sam Medley, 2019-09-28 (Update: 2019-09-28)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.