Why You Need iOS Jailbreak Detection Software

Most app developers would like to think that they’ve built a tamper-proof application that resists jailbreaks. However, hackers are getting smarter than ever. Let’s explore some of the dangers jailbreaking can pose for your app, and why it needs it.

The Risks of Jailbreaking

Jailbreaking is the process of removing Apple’s security restrictions on iOS devices. This allows users the ability to modify sensitive files in your apps and change settings they normally would not be able to access on their own.

Apple designs its iOS and hardware products to be resilient against attempted jailbreaks. However, hackers can find ways to circumvent these security protections so they can install apps from another source than Apple’s app store.

From there, hackers can use jailbroken devices to obtain elevated privileges and compromise your application’s security, including committing piracy and IP theft. It makes the device vulnerable to malware and, in turn, makes it easier to install malware on other devices in your system. This can lead to everything from compromised passwords to stolen credit card information on apps with transactional capabilities.

Why iOS Jailbreak Detection Is So Important

Jailbreak detection can prevent users from exploiting your application and causing serious problems for both your app and users. It also allows you to detect when apps have been jailbroken in real time so you can more easily prevent attacks from happening.

Here are some of the benefits to utilizing iOS jailbreak protection methods for your application.

Protect Sensitive Data

Attackers can use jailbroken devices to access file systems and data that the iOS device would normally protect. This can include personal information like passwords, bank account numbers, and other data that can compromise your users’ privacy and security.

Maintain App Integrity

Jailbreaking enables bad actors to create pirated applications that Apple has not vetted for security. Since both normal and pirated apps have root access on jailbroken devices, these pirated apps can gather data from legitimate applications and capture user data to exploit and possibly distribute to other criminals.

Even more, since jailbreaking allows them to more easily pirate an unauthorized version of your app, they can easily steal your intellectual property. It’s an all too easy way for them to tarnish your brand reputation and force you to clean up the mess.

Prevent Unauthorized Access

With jailbroken apps, attackers can gain unauthorized access to protected parts of your app. In turn, they can also wreak havoc on your application and affect its functionality, copy your code to create pirated versions and trick unsuspecting users into handing over their information, or access user data directly to steal from them or give their information away to the highest bidder.

These are just a few of the possible consequences of allowing jailbroken devices to use your app. Doing so can also prevent users from receiving critical security updates and leave their device vulnerable to malware and viruses of all types.

Ensure Compliance with Security Standards

Knowingly allowing users to utilize your application on jailbroken desktop and mobile apps violates both security standards and Apple’s guidelines as a provider. As a result, this can leave your organization on the hook for fines, fees, and other types of disciplinary action from Apple.

How Our iOS Jailbreak Detection Software Works

Detection Techniques

There are a few different ways to detect the presence of a possible jailbroken device within your applications. Some of the most effective options for detecting device jailbreaks include:

  • Runtime analysis: You can use application security tools like Defender for iOS to monitor devices’ runtime environments and look for activity that may indicate a jailbreak in progress, such as intercepted API calls or the presence of a sandbox environment. 
  • Detecting known jailbreak files: Jailbreak tools can occasionally leave behind files or folders in certain areas of the hardware. By detecting the presence of these files, Defender can identify that the device has been jailbroken.
  • Detecting changes to system files: In many cases, people who jailbreak their phone have to modify the device’s system files to break down the “walled garden” Apple sets up for security on iOS devices. Defender can detect if these files have been changed by comparing them to standard values.
  • Future-proofing: Jailbreaking technology will get more sophisticated with time. To keep up with these updates to the jailbreak process, Defender uses boolean logic to determine if a device has been jailbroken, is actively jailbroken, or is inactively jailbroken.

Defender for iOS recognizes four different states, ranging from “jailbroken” to “not jailbroken.” These statuses include:

  • Actively jailbroken: There is an active jailbreak on a device and it is possible to install apps from a source other than Apple’s app store.
  • Jailbroken but inactive: The device is jailbroken, but it is inactive and therefore cannot be used to install apps from other resources without reactivating the jailbreak.
  • Restored: At some point there was a jailbreak on the device, but the user tried to restore the device using the jailbreak’s restore operation.
  • Clean: The device shows no indication of a jailbreak being present, either now or previously.

Mobile Integrations

Defender for iOS is designed to easily integrate with your mobile apps. It offers a command-line interface that you can integrate into CI/CD pipelines for consistent protection from the outset—without disrupting your development workflow.

Real-Time Monitoring and Alerts

Defender for iOS is designed to continuously monitor your application’s behavior. It also makes updating and obfuscating your application’s code easier to prevent future security challenges from becoming issues. It does all of this without modifying your original source code, so you can update your app without having to revert any changes.

These real-time monitoring and alert features allow you to take a more proactive approach to your application’s security. As a result, you can more easily shut down usage of your applications on unauthorized or jailbroken devices.

Start a Free Trial of Defender for iOS

Defender for iOS allows you to take a hands-on approach to your application security and protect it from attackers and bad actors. Get a taste of what the program can do to keep your iOS-based apps safe and seamlessly add an extra layer of security. Start your free trial today!