Apple's confidential iBoot source code leaked online

10 February, 2018, 08:53 | Author: Carmen Reese
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Yesterday, Apple's iBoot source code leaked online.

The boot-up source code used on its older iOS 9 operating platform was posted on code-sharing website Github.

"This is the biggest leak in history", Jonathan Levin, an author of several book about iOS and Mac OSX's inner workings told reporters at Motherboard. It corroborated information from two sources claiming that they had been given the iBoot code by a low-level Apple employee in 2016, who the publication was unable to speak with. Apple, however, calmed the concerns saying the code is tied to old software and would not affect the devices.

Two researchers have confirmed to Motherboard that the code is indeed real as they were able to reverse engineer it. "It's a huge deal".

But leaks of this kind potentially open up the scope for iPhone hacking and no doubt a degree of furore will be churning away in communities that love nothing more than getting stuck into a piece of private code.

When an iPhone has been jailbroken, users can run software that's not typically allowed or delete applications that come pre-loaded on the device, also known as 'bloatware'.

The code began with the statement: "This document is the property of Apple Inc".

Fortunately, numerous risks associated with the leak have been mitigated.

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The code was for the outdated iOS 9, released in September 2015, but it is expected that parts of the code may still be in use underpinning the iPhone's security in later releases.

"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", the statement from Apple read.

For their part, Apple seems relaxed and confident. That said, iBoot is highly sensitive code, and Apple apparently pays up to $200,000 under its bug bounty program to anyone who discovers bugs in the boot up procedure.

This iBoot code release just made the ice a bit thinner.

Cyber security expert Amit Sethi from Synopsys said the leak was unlikely to have a major impact on users.

'There is no way to really use any of the contents here maliciously or otherwise, ' he added.

Strafach echoed Apple's sentiment that the security of iOS devices doesn't depend on obscurity.


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