How to Detect Cydia iOS Jailbreak, Protect iOS Apps

Last updated August 29, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Detect Jailbreak in iOS apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Cydia?

Cydia is an alternative app store that allows mobile end users to find and install software not authorized by Apple on jailbroken iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices. It also refers to the digital distribution platform for software on iOS accessed through Cydia software. Downloading Cydia requires jailbreaking the iOS-based device, thus allowing users to escalate privileges in order to obtain access to, and modify, the iOS File System.

How does Appdome Detect Cydia in iOS Apps ?

As an integral part of the Jailbreak Prevention protection, Appdome blocks various utilities widely used by hackers to perform jailbreaking, including Cydia. In so doing Appdome allows users to avoid all security risk involved in jailbreaking, an operation that seriously compromises the mobile security model. Any iOS app that runs on a Jailbroken device is in a vulnerable state, where hackers can amplify and increase the magnitude of their attacks.

Any malicious actor who succeeds in jailbreaking an iOS-based device will find it much easier to disable anti-tampering protections as well as security protections, to modify the iOS file system, to change properties files, and to modify the device’s behavior in general. When iOS apps run on Jailbroken devices you really cannot trust any of the signals, messages, or behaviors associated with the device (or anything running on the device).

Detecting Jailbreak on iOS apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending iOS Apps that Detect Jailbreak without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. iOS Formats: .ipa
  2. Build the Protection: Jailbreak Prevention.

    1. Building Jailbreak Prevention by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Jailbreak Prevention feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Jailbreak Prevention

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Jailbreak Prevention feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Jailbreak Prevention feature via Appdome Console, to add the Jailbreak Prevention feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set, as shown in Figure 1 above, and get the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below): fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Cirlce CI or other system:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Jailbreak Prevention feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Jailbreak Prevention protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > OS Integrity section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Jailbreak Prevention, as shown belowJailbreak, If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Detects . Jailbreak Prevention option

        Figure 3: Detect Jailbreak option
        Note: The App Compromise Notification contains an easy to follow default remediation path for the mobile app end user. You can customize this message as required to achieve brand specific support, workflow or other messaging.

      3. When you select the Jailbreak Prevention you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Jailbreak Prevention

        Fusion Set applied Jailbreak Prevention

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Jailbreak Prevention protection

      4. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Jailbreak Prevention protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Jailbreak Prevention feature in iOS Apps.

    After building Jailbreak Prevention, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Jailbreak Prevention protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Jailbreak Prevention protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Jailbreak Prevention shown in Certificate secure

    Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate

    Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Jailbreak Prevention has been added to each iOS app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Jailbreak Prevention and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Prerequisites to Using Jailbreak Prevention:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Detect Jailbreak , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Jailbreak Prevention. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.

Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Jailbreak Prevention

After successfully securing your app by using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include:

All apps protected by Appdome are fully compatible with any public app store, including Apple App Store, Google Play, Huawei App Gallery and more.

Protections Similar to Jailbreak Prevention

If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

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