Absinthe 2.0, the jailbreak for iOS 5.1.1, is ready and available for download, the Jailbreak Dream Team announced at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam on Friday.
Absinthe 2.0 can be used to jailbreak iOS 5.1.1 devices, allowing users to gain root access to the OS and, for example, download applications not authorized by Apple.
[ In other news at Hack in the Box: Bug bounty hunters reveal eight vulnerabilities in Google services. | The Web browser is your portal to the world -- as well as the conduit that lets in many security threats. InfoWorld's expert contributors show you how to secure your Web browsers in this "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]
Absinthe 2.0 is untethered, which is more desirable than tethered jailbreaks because it allows users to reboot their devices without plugging them into external computers. Untethered jailbreaks also allow devices to remain jailbroken after a reboot.
"We actually managed to finish the untethered jailbreak for the 5.1.1 OS version," said jailbreaker Nikias Bassen, also known by his Twitter handle @pimskeks, at the end of two presentations the Jailbreak Dream Team gave during the conference. The team announced the new jailbreak by mentioning "one more thing," the phrase former Apple CEO Steve Jobs often used to slyly announce major news at Apple press conferences.
Absinthe 2.0 is the first untethered jailbreak for the third generation iPad, and can also be used for the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS, the iPad 2 and 1 and the iPod Touch. It is available for download at the team's website. However, Absinthe 2.0 only works with devices that run iOS 5.1.1.
When the new jailbreak was announced, the team's website was down. "It is available for download as soon as we manage to get the server back online," said Bassen promised, who half jokingly added that they might have been hacked.
He worked on the jailbreak with jailbreakers Joshua Hill (@p0sixninja), David Wang (@planetbeing) and Cyril, who did not provide his last name and is also known as (@pod2g).
The jailbreakers expect their latest software to be downloaded about a million times, they said during a press conference following the announcement. In the past, the jailbreaks were downloaded about half a million times, but that number is increasing, they added.
The jailbreakers don't expect that Apple will roll out a quick fix for the latest iOS hack. "Of course, they are going to patch things. But I'm not sure they will release a new version of iOS just for this. I think they will wait for iOS 6," said Cyril. The jailbreakers -- who met each other in person for the first time during the conference -- expect that a beta version of iOS 6 will become available soon.
They denied rumors that they have already started working on an iOS 6 jailbreak. "We are actually not working on that," Bassen said, adding that "it is always good to have an exploit in the drawer," hinting that they have other jailbreaking methods lined up that can be tried on the next version of iOS. "There is a good chance we will use one of them," Bassen said.
Apple has never approached the hackers to confront them with the jailbreaks, they said, adding that it would be interesting to know what Apple thinks of their work.
"Apple hasn't sent us as much as a cease-and-desist," Wang said, adding that he is not worried that Apple will try to stop them.
Apple should be happy with the jailbreaks, Bassen said, emphasizing that there is a lot of research that goes into jailbreaking an iOS device, which Apple otherwise would have to pay for. "It is free security research, and security research is not cheap, it is expensive," he said. "So they probably are happy."
The amount of work and sleepless nights involved in jailbreaking won't result in paid jailbreaks in the future, the hackers promised. "We won't ever charge for jailbreaking, that is a bad idea," Cyril said.
Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.