Earlier this week Vice's tech arm Motherboard reported that Apple's iOS source code was posted online via GitHub, a popular code hosting platform. Rusty Carter, VP of Product at Arxan Technologies commented below.
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. In addition to the iBoot source code, the employee is said to have taken additional code, which has yet to be released publicly. "It's not the original leak-it's a copy", one of them said. "Apple isn't prone to open-sourcing its code so most understanding of iOS" internals has been acquired through reverse-engineering attempts.
Apple has led a bug bounty program in the past, offering researchers up to $200k to expose vulnerabilities in the boot process - meaning this leak could be another opportunity to strengthen security, depending on who gets their hands on it. In doing so, Apple further confirmed - under the penalty of perjury - the legitimacy of the source code.
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.
Eventually others joined the group of five people and the code spread from there, despite the possibility it could be used to compromise iPhone security and the likelihood of an investigation and massive legal retaliation from Apple.
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"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", Apple said in its statement.
Security experts are concerned that after the leak hackers could analyze it closely and find flaws that they could later exploit. 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.
Apple is known for keeping its iOS source code private to secure its devices, including iPhones though some parts of iOS and MacOS have been made open source over the years.
While the leak just gained mainstream attention this week, the code has been floating around for a while. The good news is that this leak could help the jailbreaking developers to have access to modifications in the deepest corners of the system, so it means we could tweak it some more!