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Jailbreaking: The Opposite of Data Breach Insurance

Jailbreaking Apple products counteracts the protection offered by data breach insurance.

Monday, March 24, 2014/Categories: cyber-liability

With data breach incidents and expenses increasing every year, technology insurance companies are scrambling to keep pace: new coverage products are being developed to protect technology companies (and any business that uses technology) from the many digital risks they face, and software companies are scrambling to make their products less susceptible to malicious attacks.

At the same time, though, some tech-savvy individuals are pushing back against what they feel are undue restrictions on their ability to use gadgets and applications. The classic case in point is the community of jailbreakers of Apple products. This group disables the protections Apple places on its iOS products with the explicit purpose of expanding the ways those products can be used.

Specifically, many jailbreakers enjoy manipulating their devices so they can download apps and software not approved by Apple.

While the practice of jailbreaking can increase the functionality of technology products, it comes with significant risks – so much so that, for the less tech-savvy among us, jailbreaking can be considered something like the opposite of data breach insurance.

Inviting Data Breaches to Your Devices

First, a disclaimer: people who understand the risks associated with jailbreaking and know how to keep their information safe may be able to successfully carry out a jailbreak without compromising their data.

But if you’re not 100% confident that you understand the risks involved, consider the following…

  • Malware incidents for non-jailbroken apple devices remain almost nonexistent. Among jailbroken devices, though, multiple malware incidents (that is, the introduction of malicious and disruptive software) have been reported. Translation: jailbreaking your device significantly increases your exposure to viruses and data breaches.
  • Apple reserves the right, in many cases, to void warranties on devices that have been jailbroken. In practice, a device’s warranty is a sort of limited-time insurance policy, so jailbreaking the device eliminates a layer of protection for your information and your equipment.
  • Without Apple’s sandbox protections in place, the apps you download to your device may have unlimited access to your information. That means that if a virus gets in, all of your sensitive data could be exposed.

The Best Data Breach Insurance? Knowing the Risks

For most people, Apple’s protections are overwhelmingly helpful: they prevent damage by blocking all but the most trusted software and apps. But if you’re confident in your ability to understand and manage the risks associated with jailbreaking an Apple device, you may be able to do so without experiencing negative fallout.

Because most data breaches occur due to human error (which includes failing to use strong passwords), some of the best data breach prevention comes from careful, educated, risk-conscious humans. In other words, you are an important part of your data breach insurance policy. 


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