Those who are deeply involved with the jailbreak community are likely to know a lot about Flex, a platform that allows users to download patches and modifications to their jailbroken iPhones or iPads. They can create and then share their own patches with the rest of the Flex community so everyone else can enjoy the features as well.
An early access version of Flex 3 has now launched in Cydia’s BigBoss repository, giving public availability of the platform to everyone who owns a jailbroken device.
If you noticed something a bit different with Cydia when you opened it this morning, you’re not alone. Cydia itself didn’t change, but the repo that hosts the majority of the popular jailbreak tweaks did.
The BigBoss repo underwent a significant redesign, resulting in a cleaner look, and a more friendly interface. Of course, since this change is limited to the BigBoss repo, you won’t see any changes in packages hosted on other repos.
By jailbreaking their devices, most users usually know what they expose themselves to. When breaking the walls Apple has constructed to protect their security and privacy, jailbreakers put their fate in the hands of a handful of people. If done with basic principles in mind, jailbreaking can be very safe. I, for example, have been jailbreaking every iOS device I have owned since 2008, and I have yet to encounter any issue whatsoever.
Being cautious starts by being aware of what you install on your jailbroken device. Limiting yourself to the default repositories is good practice, as these repos do an outstanding job at analyzing jailbreak apps and tweaks before making them available for download, ensuring that the final user is as safe as possible.
But there is always that slight chance that a malicious tweak might have gone through the cracks and made its way into Cydia for millions of potential users to download. Nothing is 100% safe, but safety measures can be put in place to ensure the highest level of security. This is the job of repo maintainers.
We have talked to representatives of the two largest default repositories on Cydia to ask how they ensure the safety of their users. In a two-part series, we will publish their answers, starting today with Optimo, repo maintainer for BigBoss. Tomorrow, we will publish answers from Kyle Matthews of ModMyi.
Changing little things about iOS is one of the neat benefits that comes with jailbreaking, whether it’s the Slide to Unlock text, or getting rid of different blurs in the UI. NoNotificationsText lets you change the text that says ‘No Notifications’ in the second tab in Notification Center.
The situation in Cydia right now is one of sadness. I’m sad, because nearly every time I try to download or purchase a new tweak or app, I have to finagle and wrangle with the App Store redirects that seem to have multiplied as of late.
I kid you not, I get about 5 pop-ups every time I open a page on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and sometimes I just give up after wrestling with trying to open a tweak’s page. At first this behavior was tolerable, but over the last few weeks, it seems to have reached a boiling point. It generally takes a lot of inconveniences for me to decide to write about one of my annoyances, but this situation is just flat out of control, and I need to vent.
Someone needs to fix this. The problem primarily seems to happen with tweaks hosted on the BigBoss repo. If this happened to any other repo, I’d simply uninstall that repo and go about my business. Sadly, I can’t do that, because the BigBoss repo is more or less Cydia. It hosts 99% of the tweaks that we report on, and it’s generally where all of the action is when it comes to tweaks. Themes are a different story, and sometimes you’ll find a really cool tweak on ModMyi, but it’s obvious that the BigBoss repo is where most of the activity resides in this community.
BigBoss, one of the default repositories for jailbreak tweaks in Cydia, has allegedly been hacked by an individual or a group of individuals whose identity is still unknown.
The attackers were apparently able to gain access to all packages (paid and free) that are available in the BigBoss repo, and made the deb index and database available for download. The assailants went as far as creating a new repo which can be added to Cydia to download all BigBoss-hosted tweaks.
As is always the case when this type of security breach happens, jailbreak users should be cautious and stay away from this.
It’s the same story with almost every jailbreak. The new jailbreak is released, and folks rush to download all of their favorite jailbreak apps and tweaks. The result is a less than primed experience due to the stress that this places on Cydia and the repos hosting the various packages. After a new jailbreak is released, it usually takes a few days for everything to calm down to somewhat normal levels.
This time around, though, Saurik, and the repo managers appear to be taking preemptive actions to ensure a smoother experience immediately post jailbreak release. While nothing is assured until the inevitable deluge of user requests places stress on the system, you should look forward to a much better experience than in times past.