Can a malicious Cydia tweak make your iPhone explode?

Recently, a jailbreaker experienced an iPhone explosion abruptly. Can it be blamed on a malicious Cydia tweak? Let’s find out below.

Developing a malicious tweak to blow up iPhone

Jailbreak tools such as Pangu and Yalu are inherently safe to use. However, a developer could write malicious Cydia tweaks that can seriously damage your iPhone.

iPhone explodes

Here’s how a tweak could cause your iPhone to explode –

  • The user installs the malicious tweak on his iPhone.
  • It accesses the root filesystem through SSH and alters the tolerance values of temperature.
  • The tweak then starts throttling the processor slowly and then ramps it up.
  • This causes the user’s iPhone to overheat over time.
  • The battery heats up to dangerous levels
  • iPhone explodes.

As you know, Apple doesn’t really mess around when it comes to security.

There are a lot of hardware protections in place that prevent an app from throttling the processor too much. These lower-level checks kill the app whenever such a thing happens.

The same applies to tweaks as well. Hence, a tweak can only damage your hardware by altering your software settings.

Can software damage hardware?

Yes, software can cause damage to a device’s hardware. This holds for true for almost all devices including the iPhone.

There have been a lot of instances when a virus irreversibly damaged the hardware. Here are a few techniques such a virus can utilize –

  • Sending fake feedback – A virus can send a modified feedback to the system. For example, it can “make” the system feel like it’s running in a safe range of temperature, voltage, etc when it is actually not.
  • Altering the tolerance values – This is a more direct approach and involves altering the tolerance values of fan speed, voltage, etc. Fake feedback is more of an indirect approach. 
  • Consistent overloading – Simply throttling the CPU and GPU until the device overheats to dangerous levels.
  • Flashing BIOS – This is an older technique and is impossible to do on an iPhone. It involves changing the firmware version altogether.

Has this ever been done?

No, this has never been done before for Apple devices. This is just a concept and shows how a hacker can develop the first “virus tweak” for jailbreak.

Thankfully, all tweak developers on the jailbreak scene care about the safety of users. They even provide solid after-support even after a user has purchased and downloaded their tweaks.

hacker

Once you jailbreak your device, The reason tweaks can be dangerous is that there’s nothing stopping them from accessing your device’s root filesystem.

Therefore, the best way to protect your device is to only purchase Cydia tweaks from legitimate repositories. I also suggest staying away from cracked Cydia repos.

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