New Absinthe 2.0 Apple jailbreak expected this week

Apple released iOS 5.1.1 on 5 May. It was a relatively minor upgrade designed to fix bugs and improve reliability. Normally, when a new iOS version fixes bugs, it also fixes those bugs that allow existing jailbreaks. This time it didn’t. “It’s a (pleasant) mystery why they haven’t fixed it yet,” notes the Dev-Team blog, confirming that the existing Redsn0w jailbreak still works for 5.1.1.

But Redsn0w is a tethered jailbreak. A tethered jailbreak is one that needs to be performed each time the device is used – it is effectively ‘tethered’ to the jailbreaking system such as an OSX Mac or Windows PC. An untethered jailbreak needs to be performed only once – the jailbreak sticks.

Rumors that a new untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.1.1 will be announced this week have grown to a firm expectation. The beta has been around for some time; at least since 14 May when pod2g explained that only “really trusted people (that can be counted on one hand) could have access to the jailbreak. I don't want any leak to happen.” The delay in its release, he also said, is because “There are 16 different devices out there to work on and to test. It takes time.”

He’s been busy. It now appears that only the AppleTV 3 will not be jailbroken with what is likely to be called Absinthe 2.0. As of yesterday, only the iPad 2 Wifi R2, the iPad 3 Global and the AppleTV 2 were still untested, but expected to work. Absinthe 2.0 (although that is not yet its official name) will probably be announced during the scheduled presentation by ‘The Dream Team’ (p0sixninja, pod2g and pimskeks) at the HITB Amsterdam Conference on Friday May 25.

Jailbreaks break Apple’s walled garden. Users can run any software they chose rather than just Apple-sanctioned apps. However, a jailbroken device is an insecure device, so security advice must always be, don’t jailbreak. “To a large extent,” explains David Harley, an independent Apple security researcher, “Apple’s ability to decide which software you can install is its security, because it means Apple can, in theory, block any software that breaks its rules about what an application is allowed to do – and those rules protect Apple’s more technical defence mechanisms. Out-and-out malware is almost totally reliant on jailbreaking.” A jailbroken device becomes far more susceptible to infection.

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