Apple plays down iPhone source code leak risk

10 February, 2018, 08:50 | Author: Lora Ball
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Though the publication of iBoot was enthusiastically dubbed "the biggest leak in history" in the initial Motherboard report, the source code is believed to be from three-generations-old iOS 9.

Earlier this week an anonymous user posted the source code, the data that underpins Apple's iOS software, on the website GitHub, which is used by computer programmers to share code for websites, apps and software.

While the code's existence was brief, it sent ripples through the cybersecurity community, with one Mac and iOS expert calling it the "biggest leak in history". "It's a huge deal". Apple may have managed to get the Github post taken down, but since people already managed to get their hands on it, it is going to be almost impossible to contain completely.

Security researchers are still cautioning that the outdated code could give hackers an inside look into how Apple's secret boot software works. The source code is for a version of iOS 9, the operating system that debuted in 2015.

More news: Pope Francis prays for victims of Taiwan quake

According to Motherboard, this code actually appeared first on Reddit late a year ago before being posted to Github, but was initially ignored due to the user's short posting history. The repository has been removed, but there is still potential for damage to be done with the code.

Apple is notorious for keeping its source code close to its chest, but someone just leaked a heap of very sensitive code online. "But it has taken particular care to keep iBoot secure and its code private; bugs in the boot process are the most valuable ones if reported to Apple through its bounty program, which values them at a max payment of $200,000".

Apple has said that a major component of its iOS source code that was published on code-sharing site, GitHub, was old and is unlikely to pose a security threat to iPhone users.

Apple responded by filing a copyright takedown request with GitHub shortly after the breach, all but confirming that the leaked code was genuine. This could lead to new attacks and vulnerabilities for iOS, but jailbreaking might also come back. He also noted that it matches code that he had previously reverse engineered. That means the release of the source code could amount to a gold rush for many researchers.


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