June 24, 2018

An Apple intern reportedly leaked critical iOS source code to iPhone jailbreakers

11 February 2018, 05:03 | Yvette Williams

A secret part of Apple’s iPhone software has been posted onlineMore

A secret part of Apple’s iPhone software has been posted onlineMore

A skilled anonymous hacker leaked the source code for Apple's ultra-secret iBoot software on Wednesday, raising fears that nearly any might be vulnerable to hackers. Rusty Carter, VP of Product at Arxan Technologies commented below.

The boot-up source code used on its older iOS 9 operating platform was posted on code-sharing website Github. But the leak of this source code is proof that no environment or OS is infallible, and application protection from within the application itself is crucial, especially for business-critical, data-sensitive applications.

Protecting such large repositories of source code is hard when many employees have access, Spanier said.

iBoot is part of the operating system that will enable the secure boot chain.

That Apple has been quick to seek removal of the code from GitHub is also proof enough how important the code is for the company. Jonathan Levin, the famous author of books on iOS and Mac OSX internals claims this leak to be the "biggest leak in the history". However, despite people trying to share it around as quick as possible - the source of that copy was taken down nearly immediately after a DMCA was sent to GitHub by Apple. Apple, as a general rule of thumb, keeps most of their source code private, which is why this phenomenon is certainly a rare problem for the tech giant.

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The iBoot source code could also enable programmers to eventually find a way to emulate iOS on devices other than iPhones and iPads, which would be a big thorn in Apple's closed ecosystem approach. 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.

In a statement Apple said "the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code".

Again, the typical iPhone user is probably not in any danger, thanks to Apple's recent security upgrades on their devices.

Security experts are concerned that after the leak hackers could analyze it closely and find flaws that they could later exploit.

While the leak just gained mainstream attention this week, the code has been floating around for a while. However, the original leak was found to be associated with iOS 9, which is a few generations removed from the currently-available iOS 11. While Apple has said that the leak is essentially nothing for users to be concerned about, it makes one wonder whether Apple's ecosystem is as roughly locked down as once thought.

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