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iOS evasi0n jailbreak used 1.7 million times in first day

Released on Monday, the new jailbreak led to 1.7 million downloads by the following morning, according to Cydia's appstore administrator.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

A new jailbreak that targets all of the latest iOS devices has proven a hit with the public.

Launched on Monday, the evasi0n tool is capable of jailbreaking every iOS 6 and 6.1 device on the market, including the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, the fourth-generation iPad, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch. The tool itself is considered relatively simple to use, certainly in comparison with other jailbreak methods.

As a result, evasi0n had already been used at least 800,000 times in its initial six hours, according to Jay Freeman, who runs the Cydia app store for jailbreakers. Speaking with Forbes, Freeman called that a "conservative estimate" as an increase in traffic actually took down his server for a while. And by Tuesday, those numbers had already reached 1.7 million.

Taking those results several steps further, Freeman tweeted last night that more than 4 million iOS devices have downloaded the Cydia software since evasi0n debuted. That doesn't necessarily mean all those devices are tapping into Cydia because of evasi0n. But it does show a dramatic jump in the use of Cydia since Monday.

So, what makes evasi0n different from previous jailbreak tools?

David Wang, one of the developers behind the tool, revealed to Forbes how it works.

The lengthy explanation is probably best deciphered by programmers and hackers. But in a nutshell, evasi0n exploits five unique "bugs" in Apple's iOS code. Ultimately, the jailbreak is able to write data to the iOS kernel, the holy grail of hacking.

And that's pretty much the ballgame.

"Once you get into the kernel, no security matters any more," Wang told Forbes. "Then we win."

Evasi0n certainly has caught the attention of Apple. On Sunday, the company revised its online jailbreak warning page to remind people of the potential hazards involved, including instability, security vulnerabilities, shortened battery life, unreliable voice and data, disruption of services, and the inability to apply future software updates.