- So why, after paying a small fortune for one of Apple's devices, would you void your warranty and jailbreak? Well, partly because in most cases the handset can be easily and quickly returned to its non-jailbroken state, and partly because doing so can fundamentally transform your using of it. Of course, when you have taken the plunge your device is significantly less insulated from malicious "worms" previously weeded out by Apple. It's your call – but what do the readers think?
I doubt that the Guardian blogger in question really believes any of the above. What is more likely is that he's read an Apple PR statement and taken their spin as fact, without researching the matter properly.
It's absolute rubbish that jailbreaking makes you more vulnerable to attack.
Firstly, In order for there to be a jailbreak, a hole in Apple software must be exploited. This one (a PDF exploit) is potentially very harmful as simply by displaying a PDF a hacker could gain full control of an iDevice (basically, involuntarily jailbreaking the device without the user's knowledge or permission).
Secondly, it is possible to install a mod that lets you choose whether or not to view PDF files on a case by case basis, but ironically the only way to do so is to jailbreak your device beforehand. Therefore, people who haven't jailbroken have less secure devices more open to attack, until Apple releases a fix.
Thirdly, some of the first jailbreaks, like this one, made use of software exploits (more recent exploits used by jailbreaking applications are hardware based and hence less dangerous as physical access to the device is required). Previously, these exploits were automatically patched by the provider of the jailbreak, securing it from future attack. This can't be done quite so easily this time around as turning off the ability to view PDFs isn't practical. Nonetheless, in these cases jailbreaking made your device more secure, not less.
Dear Guardian et al., please do your research before you repeat Apple's PR nonsense. Simply jailbreaking a device does not make it automatically less secure. Granted, you are more susceptible to malware as jailbreak applications aren't as well vetted as Apple-approved applications, but caution and perhaps a quick Google search before installing an application from an untrusted source should be plenty to protect yourself.
As for why I jailbreak (another common question that is being asked by the mainstream press), I do it because it is my device. I paid for it (and therefore own it), I know what I want to use it for and what it's capable of, and I don't need Apple to mollycoddle me or hold my hand. I'm not an obsessive nerd either, and I'm not doing it for the sake of it; I'm doing it because I truly believe that jailbreaking offers genuine advantages that add significant value to my iPod Touch. Every tweak and application makes it less like a fancy toy and more like a real computer.