Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Apple confirms iOS source code got leaked on GitHub

Apple confirms iOS source code got leaked on GitHub

Motherboard was the first to report the leak of the iOS source code, which was for an iOS process named "iBoot". The source code appears to be for the iOS 9 version of iBoot, a stage 2 bootloader that verifies a device's iOS kernel and enables operation in Recovery Mode. The version posted on GitHub was supposedly iOS 9, a previous version of Apple's operating system. "There are many layers of hardware and software protections built in to our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections".

Troisi, however, told CRN that he does believe there's a heightened risk of exploits as a result of the iPhone source code leak. 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.

While various parts of iOS and MacOS have been made open source in recent years, Apple has gone out of its way to ensure iBoot's code remains private - in Apple's bounty program, bugs in the boot process are deemed the most valuable and can fetch up to US$200k. "It is not open-source".

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The plan was originally to make sure that the code never left the initial circle of five friends, but apparently the code spread beyond the original group sometime previous year.

Now, this doesn't mean that there won't be any security effects of the leak, just likely not ones that will shake your personal iPhone to its core.

The code on GitHub was labelled "iBoot", which is a key cog of iOS responsible for making sure the operating system "boots up" safely and securely.

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Motherboard asked Jonathan Levin - chief technology officer of software security firm Technologeeks and author of several books on the theme - what he thinks about the leak. It's not yet known who leaked the code and what their motives for leaking it was.

Ninety-three percent of users have downloaded iOS 10 or later, and 65 percent have downloaded iOS 11, which includes the latest protections, according to the company.

The new iOS leak isn't even that new, The Register noted today, as it's been "quietly doing the rounds between security researchers and device jailbreakers on Reddit for four or so months, if not longer".

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