Apple iPhone and iPad Devices Vulnerable After Reintroduction of SockPuppet Flaw in iOS 12.4 (CVE-2019-8605)

Satnam Narang

Previously disclosed and patched flaw was reintroduced in iOS 12.4, which could be used in combination with a separate vulnerability to hack into Apple mobile devices.

Update: Apple released iOS 12.4.1 on August 26 to address the reintroduction of the SockPuppet vulnerability.


On August 18, unc0ver, a popular jailbreaking software, was updated to version 3.5.0 which includes a public jailbreak on a signed version of Apple’s firmware for the first time in years due to the reintroduction of a previously patched vulnerability (CVE-2019-8605).


Earlier this year, security researcher Ned Williamson discovered and reported CVE-2019-8605, a use-after-free vulnerability dubbed “SockPuppet” in the XNU kernel for both iOS and macOS. It was patched by Apple in iOS 12.3 back in May 2019.

In July 2019, Williamson released SockPuppet and SockPuppet2, exploit code that “achieves kernel_task port” or task_for_pid(0) (tfp0), which is highly sought after for jailbreaking Apple devices.

However, following the release of iOS 12.4 on July 22, 2019, it appears that the SockPuppet flaw was unintentionally reintroduced. It was eventually incorporated into unc0ver version 3.5.0 to allow iPhone and iPad users to jailbreak their devices running the latest signed version of iOS. A subsequent update to unc0ver, version 3.5.1, credits security researcher Umang Raghuvanshi for his own variation on SockPuppet, dubbed SockPuppet 3.0, for its “amazing exploit reliability” on iOS 12.4.

The reintroduction of the SockPuppet vulnerability, along with the availability of the unc0ver jailbreak means that certain Apple iPhone and iPad Devices running specific iOS versions are not only vulnerable to being jailbroken, but also exploited by attackers.

Stefan Esser, a security researcher known as i0n1c, tweeted out a warning that users should also be careful about downloading apps from the App Store because a malicious app “could have a copy of the jailbreak in it” and he expects criminals to “incorporate this into Apps and submit to the iOS AppStore” soon.

Affected Versions

The following is a list of iOS versions and Apple devices that are affected by the SockPuppet vulnerability and the unc0ver jailbreak.

iOS Version Impact iOS 11.0 through 11.4.1 Affected iOS 12.0 through 12.2 Affected iOS 12.3, iOS 12.3.1 Not Affected iOS 12.3.2 (iPhone 8 Plus) Not Affected iOS 12.4 (Current Version) Affected iOS 13 (Beta Version) Not Affected Apple Devices Apple Processor Impact iPhone 5S, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3 Apple A7 Affected iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPod Touch (6th Generation), iPad Mini 4 Apple A8 Affected iPad Air 2 Apple A8X Affected iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE, iPad (5th Generation) Apple A9 Affected iPad Pro (9.7” and 12.9”) Apple A9X Affected iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPad (6th Generation), iPod Touch (7th Generation) Apple A10 Fusion Affected iPad Pro (10.5” and 12.9”) Apple A10X Fusion Affected iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X Apple A11 Bionic Affected iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPad Mini (2019), iPad Air (2019) Apple A12 Bionic Partially Affected iPad Pro (11” and 12.9”) Apple A12X Bionic Partially Affected

A newer release of unc0ver, version 3.5.3, includes “partial support” for some Apple A12 and A12X devices on iOS 12.1.3, 12.1.4, 12.2 and 12.4.

Proof of concept

As previously referenced, exploit code for SockPuppet and SockPuppet 2 have been available since July 2019 and the updated exploit code for SockPuppet 3 is included in unc0ver versions 3.5.1 and later.


Updated, Aug. 26: No new patch for the reintroduced SockPuppet vulnerability had been released at the time this blog was published. However, Apple subsequently released iOS 12.4.1 on Aug. 26 to address the reintroduction of the SockPuppet vulnerability. Users running specific versions of iOS, such as 12.3, 12.3.1, 12.3.2 (iPhone 8 Plus) and 13 (beta releases) are not affected.

Identifying affected systems

Tenable products offer integration with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to identify mobile devices missing vendor updates. Once a patch is available, a list of our MDM plugins to identify vulnerable devices will appear here as they’re released.

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Published on Aug 20, 2019

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