Luca Todesco shows off jailbreak on iOS 16.1 beta at Hexacon security conference

Speaking at the Hexacon security conference in Paris, France on Friday, hacker and security researcher Luca Todesco discussed Apple’s latest mobile software security trends and showed off a jailbreak on iOS 16.1 beta.

Luca Todesco slides from the Hexacon security conference.
| Image: Shahar Tal, Luca Todesco at the Hexacon security conference

Todesco, known not only for his work on the checkra1n jailbreak, but also for his efforts in projects such as PongoOS and the Yalu jailbreak for certain handsets running iOS 10, is by and large an influential figure in the jailbreak community, and for a good reason.

Shahar Tal, the vice president of business development for Cellebrite, shared the Tweet string above with images of Todesco at the stage and some of his fascinating Keynote slides, some of which are depicted above.

“Apple has made things way harder for us,” Todesco noted in a slide, aligning his opinion with that of other hackers in today’s jailbreak community regarding Apple’s continued efforts to thwart jailbreaking with not just newer software, but also with more advanced hardware.

Todesco also pointed to things like iOS’ new Lockdown Mode and heightened security mechanisms to make the case that Apple finally appears to be taking user security more seriously than jailbreaking.

Notably, similar criticisms of Apple were made by 08Tc3wBB in our exclusive interview with him almost one year ago, so it seems like Apple may finally be listening to the security researchers who are fighting for elevated security of our personal devices.

Todesco also underscored that it’s a bad time to be an iOS attacker due to just how tough Apple has made it and how Apple’s rapid pace of improvement is making it increasingly challenging for hackers to bypass the company’s security mechanisms.

Todesco also noted that it’s a challenging time for anyone new to enter the iOS security research space, as there is so little public knowledge available that most research depends either on experience or access to private knowledge that Apple would keep tight locks on. Furthermore, public knowledge in the security research space is said to be anywhere from one to two years behind the current security mitigations used by Apple, so for anyone getting started today, it’s going to be a lot more than just a minor challenge.

While Todesco originally set a gloomy tone for jailbreakers by claiming that Apple was winning the fight, that tone was quickly superseded by the jailbreak demo on Apple’s latest firmware, an iOS 16.1 beta release:

Luca Todesco demos a jailbreak on iOS 16.1 beta.
| Image: Shahar Tal, Luca Todesco at the Hexacon security conference

The proof-of-concept jailbreak by Todesco comes about a week after Linus Henze demoed the Fugu15 jailbreak on iOS 15.4.1.

As it would appear, Apple might be making it a lot tougher to break into iOS & iPadOS, but the company is clearly no match for a seasoned hacker who knows their stuff.