Apple's confidential iBoot source code leaked online

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dmca/2018-02-07-Apple.md at master · github/dmca · GitHub
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11 February, 2018

Sure, security measures on current versions of iOS may provide protection from most, but pouring over lines of code could give hackers insights into vulnerabilities and potential weak spots that hackers were heretofore unaware of.

Since Motherboard published the news, Apple has indeed confirmed that the code for its mobile phone operating system has been leaked online. After the code was stolen and leaked on Discord, one of the members said the group burned all the copies it had because the members thought it could be unsafe in the hands of someone with malicious intent.

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

Apple recently began using Secure Enclave processors that ensure greater security and made jailbreaking nearly obsolete.

However, copies of iBoot source code were made before GitHub took it down after the DMCA, so the code is still available for those who know where to look. Further reports have revealed that leaked source code is real. According to Apple, over 93% of the users are already on the latest platform.

While the source code could have been leaked using malware on a developer machine, the more likely scenarios range from a mistaken leak, or a deliberate leak by an employee or a third-party who had access to the code, he told TechNewsWorld.

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While clarifying, the company said that the iPhone security doesn't rely on source code secrecy. "There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the protections".

iBoot is extremely important for Apple products's security. Even though we're looking at an iBoot for the iOS 9.3, it doesn't mean that the loopholes or workarounds would be useless for the latest iOS versions. 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.

The code has since popped up on other sites, which could give hackers a peak into the inner workings of Apple's iBoot software.

Cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, said it was "extraordinary" that the code had been leaked.

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


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