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How To: Protect your JailbreakMe.com Jailbroken iDevice from being PDF exploited

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Bitten ApplePhoto credit: owaief89 (Flickr)

It’s only been about 36 hours since the latest and easiest multi iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) jailbreak was released in the form of a browser based unlock via JailbreakMe.com We covered off how to use this yesterday, if you haven’t jailbroken already then pop over and have a read.  Meanwhile, whilst this particular unlock is the simplest, it also carries with it element of risk that you’re going to want to protect yourself against.

The vulnerability

JailbreakMe works by exploiting vulnerabilities in iOS – quite simply put, iOS downloads PDF documents automatically.  This is brilliant for making it possible for us to jailbreak our handsets, but now this information is out in the wild, there are more than likely going to be some pretty nasty people looking to use this vulnerability to obtain data from un-expecting iPhone users.

Protecting your device

Not long after the vulnerability was exposed a method for protecting yourself was released.  This required a level of competency using terminal sessions to dig into the file system of your iDevice.  Thankfully, this process has now been packaged into a small application.  To protect yourself you should:

  • Open Cydia on your jailbroken handset
  • Search for and install “PDF Loading Warner”
  • Reboot your device

This is a tiny but very effective package.  It works by modifying your iDevice so that should a website attempt to automatically open a PDF, you’ll see the following screen:

PDF Launcher Warner

It’s great to see simple solutions to what otherwise could be a worry and put of some people from jailbreaking their device.

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