IOS iBoot Source Code Was Leaked By Former Apple Engineering Intern
05:08, Feb 11, 2018
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Apple has played down fears that leaked source code from an old version of its iOS operating system could compromise the security of some products. Having knowledge of this code could help hackers and others jailbreak the device, helping them find flaws and bugs, which could decrypt iPhones and emulate the smartphones' software, so it can be used on other devices.
The code leaked onto GitHub claims to be designed for iOS 9 but much of it is likely to be found in iOS 11, making the leak potentially risky to Apple's mobile software.
"No one is sure who leaked the code, but made its way to a Discord server before someone uploaded it to a Mega archive and linked it on Reddit with the title "[news] iboot bootrom ibss ibec illb source codes". After the code was stolen and leaked on Discord, one of the members said the group burned all the copies it had because the members thought it could be unsafe in the hands of someone with malicious intent.
Apple keeps an ultra tight grip on iOS and is not keen on sharing its proprietary code.
Specifically, the leak displayed two-year-old code for iBoot-the part of iOS responsible for ensuring a trusted boot of the operating system, which iPhone researcher Jonathan Levin called the "biggest leak" in the history of the iPhone.
Apparently, the source code was leaked by a low-level Apple employee who has already left the company a few years back.
According to Apple's own numbers, 93% of users are running iOS 10 or later - software which also may no longer use the code. Who knows for what version of iOS this was even meant for, and how do we even know if the code is even meant to be on devices that have the latest iOS.
Fortunately, numerous risks associated with the leak have been mitigated.
By design, "the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code", Apple wrote in the statement. The leak is so significant because of the importance of iBoot's role to the wider iOS platform.
Cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, said it was "extraordinary" that the code had been leaked. Some may say it won't make any difference but then Apple wouldn't have taken the trouble to take down the iBoot through a legal notice if it contains nothing that can work against its interest.
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