Contact us


Jailbreak Detection: Why is jailbreaking a potential security risk?

If you ever wanted to change your iPhone’s interface, modify its default behavior, or rather download third-party apps that are not supported on the AppStore, jailbreaking is the way to go.

If you ever wanted to change your iPhone’s interface, modify its default behavior, or rather download third-party apps that are not supported on the AppStore, jailbreaking is the way to go.

Jailbreaking means unlocking your phone from manufacturing restrictions made by the company, allowing you to have root access to your device and download any app you wish or customize your phone’s appearance. On the downside, your phone becomes more vulnerable, susceptible to hacker attacks and data leakage.  

Are simple customizations and off-the-market apps worth the risk that comes with jailbreaking? Is there a way for applications to keep your sensitive information safe if you use a jailbroken phone? 

What is Jailbreaking?

 The term jailbreaking ties to the Apple ecosystem, specifically iOS and iPhones/iPad devices. It means making unauthorized modifications to iOS systems, allowing users to gain full access to the operating system's root, make modifications, and customize its features. Other variants of jailbreaking are “cracking” for software modification and “rooting” in regard to Android phones. Rooting can be described as the Android version of a jailbreak since it aims to bypass protections put in place by manufacturers to install alternative mobile operating systems or generally have full root access/privilege on their device.  

What are the Potential Security Risks of Jailbreaking? 

While jailbreaking gives you more freedom to use your iOS device as you wish, it also gives your installed apps that run on it more control. One of the highest risks is malware on your device, it gains root privilege and access to all your data.  

Some of the other common risks are: 

  • Security vulnerabilities – Jailbreak eliminates security controls made by the manufacturer, which enables hackers to steal your personal information, attack your network, or introduce malware, spyware, or viruses. 
  • Instability – You can expect frequent and unexpected crashes of the device, crashes and freezes of built-in apps and third-party apps, and loss of data. 
  • Shortened battery life - The hacked software has caused an accelerated battery drain that shortens the operation of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on a single battery charge. 
  • Disruption of services – Your phone calls may drop, or you could not make a stable phone connection. 

Consider if your phone holds important information, emails, and contacts from your organization. All that data becomes available for hackers to use and exploit. So not only that your personal data is at risk but also your organization's data and the application itself. Since it is easier to install fraudulent apps on your phone when it is jailbroken, hackers can modify, for example, your mobile banking app, and authorize payments inside the app or send OTP code for payment verification. 

How to Protect Your Device? 

Apple advises not to install any software that compromises iOS. It is a violation of the end-user software license agreement. Also, keep your phone up to date. This is because jailbreaks release after some time so you know that your phone is at maximum security. 

Furthermore, it is quite possible to lose your jailbreak if you update to the latest iOS; since there usually isn’t a jailbreak for the latest releases of iOS. 

If you are unable to update your phone to remove the jailbreak; you should be able to rely on your app that is secure and protects your sensitive info. 

What is Jailbreak Detection and Why is it Critical For Your Organization?

In today's digital world, the safety and security of your organization's data are of utmost importance. With mobile devices becoming an integral part of our lives, it is crucial to ensure that they are secure from potential threats. One such threat is jailbreaking. Jailbreaking is a process of removing restrictions imposed by the manufacturer on a mobile device to install unauthorized software or modify the operating system. This can lead to various security issues for your organization. Jailbreak Detection, in other words, is the method of identifying if a mobile device has been altered to gain unauthorized access. This can weaken security measures and put sensitive data at risk. By using Jailbreak Detection software, organizations can prevent access by jailbroken devices and checking for them regularly can help maintain the security of sensitive information.

How Does Jailbreak Detection Work?

Jailbreak detection identifies modifications to a device's operating system that allow for unauthorized access or apps. This can be done by checking specific files or analyzing security measures. It is essential for organizations to ensure system and data security.

Download App Protector SDK

App Protector SDK is a mobile security component built into the application's code enabling runtime protection as well as a variety of mobile application hardening techniques, including jailbreak detection.

Jailbreak Detection Methods

Detecting if an iOS device has been modified to allow unauthorized access can be done with jailbreak detection methods that involve static/dynamic analysis or integrity checks. Organizations must regularly check for jailbroken devices to maintain the security and integrity of their systems and data. This form of jailbreak detection aims to prevent attackers or threat actors from bypassing the functionality of an operating system. By using various techniques like iHide and FlyJB or Frida & Objection, reverse engineers can try to bypass the jailbreak detection implemented in apps available on app stores.

To protect your app and its users, security professionals recommend the following jailbreak detection methods:

Extra Permission in Directories

Detecting a jailbroken device is crucial for maintaining the security of mobile devices. One popular method is to check for extra permissions in system directories that are usually not mandatory by any legitimate app. Jailbroken devices often have modified or added files in these directories, indicating tampering with the device. However, it can also produce false positives if legitimate apps require extra permissions. Monitoring system file alterations and suspicious app behavior are other ways of detecting jailbreaks. Organizations must adopt different forms of jailbreak detection to protect against unimaginable modifications made by threat actors on the iOS platform.


One of the most common and effective methods for Jailbreak Detection is booting. By checking the device's boot loader, the system can determine whether it has modifications for unauthorized access or app installation; this is a crucial step for maintaining security and integrity. Although newer jailbreak techniques may bypass this method, detectors like MDM solutions are still able to run scans for modifications that indicate a jailbreak on both Android and iOS devices.

File System monitoring

By monitoring the File System of iOS devices for any sign of tampering or unauthorized modifications, organizations can detect if their device has been jailbroken. Most importantly, it is necessary to choose a reliable jailbreak detection solution that can detect even the most sophisticated methods of jailbreaking. Jailbroken devices often have altered file systems that differ from those found on non-jailbroken devices. Hence it becomes imperative to monitor the File System for potential security risks and prevent data breaches.

/etc/fstab files

Jailbreak detection involves monitoring a device for signs of jailbreaking, such as modifications to critical system files. One such file is /etc/fstab, which controls how storage devices are mounted in the operating system. By scanning this file, jailbreak detection tools can detect if any unauthorized changes are present and alert administrators accordingly. This method is effective for both iOS and Android devices and helps organizations maintain data security by identifying potential vulnerabilities.

Presence of Jailbroken Apps

Detecting the installation of jailbroken apps on your iOS devices is essential in maintaining data security and integrity. It is crucial to check for unauthorized apps like Cydia and Icy, which are indicative of jailbreaking. By detecting these apps and preventing access, you can prevent potential security breaches. However, it is important to remember that not all jailbreaks involve installing such applications. Other detection methods may also be necessary to ensure complete safety.

Jailbreak detection tools play a crucial role in detecting and responding to jailbroken devices. To stay ahead in terms of security threats and vulnerabilities, organizations must regularly monitor and update their jailbreak detection strategies.

How to Protect Your Mobile App? 

In today’s world, there is an increase in security-sensitive applications, especially mobile banking, gambling and betting, gaming, and enterprise applications.  Such applications should run from a position of Zero Trust (meaning never trust, always verify). That means that security measures should detect jailbreaking and other security breach attempts. 

If you’re looking for a way to protect your mobile apps, look no more. ASEE’s solution comes in the form of App Protector. It provides, among other, detection of jailbreak for iOS devices and rooting for Android. Reaction to detected jailbreak is configurable, so you can choose the most appropriate reaction to a specific threat.

Jailbreaking and Jailbreak Detection FAQ

Jailbreak Detection is the method of recognizing whether a mobile device includes modifications in order to bypass its security restrictions. This detection is crucial for mobile security because jailbroken devices are more prone to malware and hacking threats. Organizations can use jailbreak detection to avoid security breaches and safeguard sensitive data, making it essential for maintaining a secure mobile environment in personal and professional settings.

Jailbreak Detection is a security measure that checks for signs of device tampering, which can pose a risk to an organization's data. If it detects a jailbroken device, it triggers additional security measures like restricting access to sensitive information.

Not implementing Jailbreak Detection in an organization poses risks as jailbroken devices can bypass security measures and compromise sensitive information. Failing to meet security policies and compliance requirements can be avoided by implementing Jailbreak Detection, thereby preventing security breaches and ensuring the safety of company data.

Jailbreak Detection is a term specific to iOS devices and refers to removing software restrictions. Android has a similar concept called root access, but it's not called Jailbreak Detection. Various methods can detect jailbroken iOS devices, and third-party services offer solutions for organizations concerned about security risks on employees' devices.

''Jailbroken device detected'' means that a device has been altered to access unauthorized apps and settings. This poses security risks, leading organizations to enforce policies on device usage through jailbreak detection, using tools like MDM software. It helps prevent potential security breaches by ensuring device security.

IOS apps use different techniques to detect jailbreak, such as searching for specific files or system file alterations. While these checks can prevent security threats and safeguard sensitive data, it is crucial to balance the benefits with user privacy and reasonable device usage.

Jailbreaking a phone can jeopardize an organization's data security by removing built-in safety features and enabling access to unapproved apps. This makes the device more vulnerable to hacking, malware, and other security risks. A general recommendation is not to use jailbroken phones for business purposes.

Jailbreaking can be a significant security risk as it disables the built-in security features of devices, making them susceptible to malware and cyber attacks. It also voids device warranties and may cause instability. Educating employees on its dangers and implementing policies against it are crucial for maintaining cybersecurity.

Author: Karolina Škunca

Karolina is a Junior iOS Software Developer. She works on preventing security attacks on iOS phones and frequently tests ASEE’s applications. Her greatest passions are designing and developing new applications.

Download App Protector SDK

App Protector SDK is a mobile security component built into the application's code enabling runtime protection as well as a variety of mobile application hardening techniques, including jailbreak detection.

To find out more about our App Protector solution, contact us or visit our blog section.  

Want to learn more about cybersecurity trends and industry news?



chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram