Bundling of Chinese app store in new iOS 7 untethered jailbreak sparks controversy

Evasi0n7, the first untethered jailbreak for iOS 7, contains an installer for a Chinese alternative app store called Taig

By Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service |  Security

The evad3rs hacking team has released a long-awaited jailbreak for Apple devices running iOS 7, but the release generated a backlash over its bundling of a Chinese app store instead of the more popular Cydia app directory.

The new jailbreak released Sunday is called evasi0n7 and is untethered, which means it's persistent across device reboots. It works on iPhone, iPad and iPod devices running iOS 7.0 through 7.0.4 and allows users to install software that doesn't conform to Apple's strict requirements for admission in the official app store, including extensions and modifications of the iOS operating system and its interface.

Soon after the release, some users started reporting that the jailbreak drops an installer called Taig on their devices. This turned out to be a Chinese app store that is reportedly used to also distribute pirated versions of legitimate apps.

This was followed by widespread speculation about evad3rs' motives for including this app directory in their jailbreak instead of Cydia, prompting the team to publish an open letter to the iOS jailbreaking community with clarifications.

"In the course of developing the iOS 7 jailbreak, we were approached by the company [behind Taig] with an offer of partnership in offering Taig bundled with the jailbreak in China," the team said. "Taig is a Chinese App Store written in Chinese, tailored and, we believe, well suited to meet the needs of users for the Chinese market. Users are not locked into Taig. Cydia can also be installed and Taig removed afterwards. It would be deeply hypocritical to remove choice from the user in the course of jailbreaking."

Evad3rs also apologized for the presence of pirated apps on Taig, which some users had perceived as an endorsement of piracy by the team.

"We are deeply sorry and embarrassed about the piracy that was seen today," the team said. "All of us have spoken out vehemently against piracy in the past. We don't believe it's right for developers to not get paid for their work."

According to the evad3rs team, their contract with Taig specifically requires the Chinese company to remove pirated apps from its store.

"Many App Stores within China, including those run by large corporations, have many issues with pirated software," evad3rs said. "Promoting an app store that is required not to have piracy with our jailbreak, we believe, will help developers."

The team claims it's very upset that despite Taig's contractual obligations and the company's efforts to remove pirated apps from their store, the problem still exists.

"It was not acceptable and they have been strenuously working to resolve the problem in good faith, and have removed all instances of it that we have brought to their attention," the team said. "We are happy that it was not overlooked by the community."

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