Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Apple Confirms iBoot Source Code Leak is Real, Downplays Significance

Apple Confirms iBoot Source Code Leak is Real, Downplays Significance

IBoot is created to guarantee that a valid, trusted version of iOS is being loaded, and unlike other portions of iOS that have been open-sourced, it's been kept opaque for security reasons.

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A major portion of the source code for iOS 9 was leaked after an anonymous GitHub user posted it in a repository on the website. The company also operates a bug bounty program to protect the security of its devices and software by paying security researchers and white hackers when they discover a vulnerability. But in a move that some Mac and iOS experts are calling the "the biggest leak in history", an unknown source appears to have laid bare parts of the iPhone's critical boot code on Github. This component verifies that iOS is loaded correctly every time and if the kernel is signed by Apple. The leaked code could also allow programmers to imitate iOS on platforms that are not related to Apple.

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Still, it's worth noting that this leaked source code was reportedly specific to iOS 9.

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According to Apple's latest stats, iOS 11 is installed on 65% of iOS devices, and iOS 10 accounts for 28%, with 7% running earlier versions. Report from Motherboard suggests that the code was available for retrieval by anyone for hours until Apple filed a copyright takedown request with GitHub and forced the site to remove the code. Grosfield said. "Apple will be scrambling to mitigate any potential risks, and the window of opportunity for malware to take advantage of that is probably pretty small". Last year, a Reddit user with the moniker "apple_internals" posted the same code on the jailbreak subreddit. Apple has confirmed with TechCrunch that the code appears to be real, but adds that it's tied to old software. However, Apple hasn't officially commented on the leak yet and thus the final authenticity remains unproven. "And now it's wide open in source code form", Levin continued. "Apple does not use security through obscurity, so this does not contain anything risky, just an easier to read format for the boot loader code". These days, modders are more likely to sell the exploit than release it for free to the jailbreak community.

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