ABC Research may release an iOS 14 exploit, but only if Apple patches it first

There’s a certain stigma surrounding jailbreaking and iOS & iPadOS 14 right about now, and all of it stems from the fact that Apple made its latest and greatest mobile operating systems a lot tougher to crack. But tougher doesn’t mean impossible, and that’s a fact, Jack.

With that in mind, it seemed appropriate to follow up with our optimistic attitude following Brandon Azad’s eye-tearing departure from Project Zero with a bit of good news: software security research group ABC Research appears willing to release an iOS & iPadOS 14-compatible exploit to the general public, assuming certain criteria are met…

In a direct message conversation shared this afternoon to /r/jailbreak between ABC Research (@abcinfosec) and Twitter user GeoSn0w (@FCE365), the security group appears to claim that they would release full details encompassing their iOS & iPadOS 14 exploit if and when Apple patches it in a future software update:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, ABC Research doesn’t want the exploit to be patched, and plans to keep it under wraps until (and if) that ever happens. ABC Research presumably uses the exploit in its current form for internal testing purposes.

For those wondering what exploit the aforementioned conversation refers to, one need only visit the ABC Research Twitter page to find more information:

There, a full demonstration video along with details about the exploit are put on display for the world to see. The demonstration showcases root access being achieved on an iPhone 12,6 (A.K.A. the 2020 iPhone SE) on various builds of iOS 14. The team notes that the achievement “was not easy,” but that’s almost certainly an understatement.

While it is indeed neat to see a working iOS & iPadOS 14 exploit on one of Apple’s latest handsets, it’s worth noting that it may or may not see the light of day, depending on whether Apple patches it or not.

If Apple does patch the exploit, then that would lead ABC Research to release details and a jailbreak could potentially be crafted with it for supported versions. On the other hand, if Apple doesn’t patch the exploit anytime soon, then this would have been nothing more than a mad skill flex. That said, we’d advise not holding your breath…

Despite the uncertainty regarding if and when this particular exploit will be released, it’s still particularly captivating to see this level of skill from security researchers given iOS & iPadOS 14’s rather challenging reputation in terms of hackery. It will indeed be interesting to see whether anything good materializes out of this in the near future or if another exploit will be released first.

Are you excited about the announcement? Share your opinion in the comments section below.