‘Anti-Jailbreak’ iOS 4.3.4 Already Jailbroken?

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The whole point of Apple’s iOS 4.3.4 update was to put the kibosh on a serious iOS security defect that allowed hackers to jailbreak iPhones, iPads and iPod touches (as well as surreptitiously remote control them), but it seems the fix may have already yielded to hackers.

Hack group ‘iPhone Dev Team’ (not to be confused with Apple’s actual iPhone development team) claims it already has a jailbreak for iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 4.3.4.

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“For the convenience of kernel hackers…we have a new redsn0w 0.9.8b3 that supports a TETHERED jailbreak for iOS 4.3.4 on all devices that have 4.3.4 except the iPad2,” wrote the team in an update to an iOS5 beta jailbreak post. The group added that most people would want to stick with iOS 4.3.3, claiming “there are no new features in 4.3.4 — only fixes for jailbreak exploits.”

Don’t get too excited, iOS hack fans. A tethered jailbreak requires you leave your iOS device physically connected to your computer each time the iOS device is rebooted to maintain the hack. If your iPhone hangs in the field, as it’s arguably more inclined to running hacked software, you’re out of luck until you re-sync with your computer using a physical cable.

Apple did the right thing, of course, getting an update out to patch the iOS security flaw (and reportedly break other jailbreak holes), but it’s pushing a boulder uphill in terms of securing long term hardware lockdowns. The company lost a crucial legal battle over jailbreaking last summer, after it attempted to spin jailbreaking as illegal. A court ruled it wasn’t, and essentially established jailbreaking as an exception to the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Apple’s response to the ruling? That jailbreaking “can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

Will iPhone Dev Team bother with a cordless iOS 4.3.4 jailbreak? Who knows, but if all Apple really did was fiddle a few jailbreak holes, perhaps the hack team’s keeping its powder dry for iOS 4.3.5.

(via MacObserver)

MORE: That Was Fast: Jailbreakers Get Into the iPad 2

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.