Apple’s latest filing against Corellium should give all security researchers, app developers, and jailbreakers reason to be concerned. The filing asserts that because Corellium “allows users to jailbreak” and “gave one or more Persons access… to develop software that can be used to jailbreak,” Corellium is “engaging in trafficking” in violation of the DMCA. In other words, Apple is asserting that anyone who provides a tool that allows other people to jailbreak, and anyone who assists in creating such a tool, is violating the DMCA. Apple underscores this position by calling the unc0ver jailbreak tool “unlawful” and stating that it is “designed to circumvent [the] same technological measures” as Corellium.
Apple is using this case as a trial balloon in a new angle to crack down on jailbreaking. Apple has made it clear that it does not intend to limit this attack to Corellium: it is seeking to set a precedent to eliminate public jailbreaks.
We are deeply disappointed by Apple’s persistent demonization of jailbreaking. Across the industry, developers and researchers rely on jailbreaks to test the security of both their own apps and third-party apps – testing which cannot be done without a jailbroken device. For example, a recent analysis of the ToTok app revealed that an Apple-approved chat app was being used as a spying tool by the government of the United Arab Emirates, and according to the researchers behind this analysis, this work would not have been possible without a jailbreak.
Not only do researchers and developers rely on jailbreaking to protect end users, but Apple itself has directly benefited from the jailbreak community in a number of ways. Many of the features of iOS originally appeared as jailbreak tweaks and were copied by Apple, including dark mode, control center, and context menus. In addition, jailbreak creators regularly contribute to the security of iOS. The developer behind the unc0ver jailbreak was acknowledged and credited by Apple for assisting with a security vulnerability in the iOS kernel – a vulnerability he discovered while using Corellium.
We are prepared to strongly defend against this attack, and we look forward to sharing our formal response to this claim when we file it in court. Until then, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the mobile community that is as concerned as we are by the far-reaching implications of this new filing.