Apple, creator of iPhone, Mac, and the iOS mobile operating system, has confirmed that their iOS 9-era source code for “iBoot” was leaked to code repository site Github. Apple has already contacted the site to request the code’s removal since previously iOS code has been a carefully guarded secret.
To assuage fears, however, Apple is claiming this leak does not warrant security worry for iPhone users. First, Apple claims their iPhone’s security does not hinge on “the secrecy of its source code”. Secondly, according to data, 93% of iPhone users use iOS 10 or 11, the two more recent updates to the operating system. Almost all iPhone users are safe from any potential hacking borne from this leak, but even then, Apple still recommends keeping your OS updated.
Motherboard originally reported the leak, reporting it as “the biggest leak in history”. Specifically, the code is associated with iBoot, the functions that run as the phone is turned on. Apple considers this code to be of top priority, even rewarding a bounty of $200,000 USD to anyone who finds bugs in this section of code.
Some are considering this leak a potential step towards bringing iPhone jailbreaking back. Previously, iPhones could easily be jailbroken through tethering or downloaded applications that overwrote boot functions. Apple’s more current iBoot code has been much harder to crack, but with iOS 9’s iBoot code out in the open, and with perceived similarities to current versions of iBoot, hackers may be able to comb through the code, find vulnerabilities, and develop new jailbreaking technology.
In an official statement, Apple had this to say: “Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design, the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections.”
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