Dear Lifehacker, I heard rumours that the new jailbreak for iOS 7 has malware, but others are saying that’s false. I can’t make heads or tails of anything, can you tell what’s actually going on?
Thanks, Jailbroken Hearts
The Evasi0n team recently released the jailbreak for iOS 7, but alongside the jailbreak came a lot of drama to confuse things. A lot of accusations were thrown around, from stealing your data to promoting piracy. Here’s what we know for sure.
Last weekend, the jailbreak group evad3rs released their iOS 7 jailbreak tool. This is the same team that did the iOS 6 jailbreak, and the new tool is very similar. Immediately after the jailbreak was released, however, we started hearing reports of some fishy behaviour on the part of the Evasi0n team that included claims that the jailbreak leaked private data and forced installation of a third-party app known for piracy.
Here’s what we know to be true: If you have Chinese set as your main language, you don’t get Cydia on your device as usual. Instead, you get an app called TaiG, which is essentially a Chinese language repository filled with Chinese apps, many of them “cracked” so you can pirate them (which is what caused a lot of the initial controversy). According to the Evasi0n team, this app was included as a Chinese language-based replacement for Cydia and not meant to include pirated apps. The team was, however, paid by TaiG to include the app with the jailbreak.
Since all this controversy started, TaiG has been removed from the default installation for Chinese language users.
English language users had Cydia installed as normal. However, it was an unofficial version patched for iOS 7 by the Evasi0n team without the help of Saurik, Cydia’s developer. This also caused quite a bit of strife amongst members of the jailbreak community. Essentially, the Evasi0n team rushed the jailbreak out the door so they could beat another team to the punch, which meant that Cydia and Mobile Substrate (the framework upon which most jailbreak tweaks are based) were not updated for iOS 7, and many tweaks did not work.
(If you’d like more details about the politics involved, you can read more at this Reddit thread.)
Lastly — and perhaps most importantly — @Hackul0us tweeted that TaiG also included malware that sent private data to TaiG’s servers. Rumours started circulating and quickly spiralled out of control, claiming that it even happened on phones without TaiG installed. However, none of these claims have yet to be substantiated with evidence, and since then Reddit user Pplude has searched the jailbreak and found no instances of user data being stolen. The Evasi0n team also claimed that no such malware is included in the jailbreak.
So Should You Jailbreak Right Now?
In short, no. While the malware claims appear to be false, the current jailbreak is still pretty buggy. Technically, the jailbreak works…it just doesn’t work all that well. More importantly, you can’t do very much with it. Since Mobile Substrate hasn’t been updated for iOS 7, a lot of tweaks don’t work yet (here’s a list of a few that do).
In effect, you’d be jailbreaking for no reason other than to say you did it. With all that in mind, our recommendation is to hold off for a little while. Once all the pieces fall into place, you can proceed — as always, with caution — to jailbreak your device. Remember, jailbreaking always carries a risk, so it’s up to you whether it’s worth the trouble.
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