Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Apple says DON'T fear about leaked source code - experts say DO

Apple iOS An Apple iPhone 7 and the company logo are seen in this illustration
Glenn Montgomery | 10 February, 2018, 09:48

Hackers and security researchers could use it to find vulnerabilities in the iOS operating system or make jailbreaking iOS devices easier.

"iBoot is the one component Apple has been holding on to, still encrypting its 64 bit image", Levin explained.

Motherboard looked more into how the iOS source code was leaked.

The confidential source code to Apple's iBoot firmware on iOS devices was leaked on GitHub.

Apple later issued a statement confirming the iBoot source code leak, but the company said the code was 3 years old and added that, "by design, the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code". Bugs in the iOS boot process are the most valuable ones to be covered by the company's bug bounty program, receiving a maximum payout of $200,000. It was public on the site for a short while until Apple submitted a DMCA takedown request, which was accepted by GitHub. First off, believe it or not, there are a ton of users out there who own Apple devices that are more than three years old; MacWorld says that almost 95% of Apple customers use older versions of iOS.

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

Andy Kays, chief technology officer at British cybersecurity firm Redscan, told Sky News: "The release of the iBoot code demonstrates that vendors can't take it for granted that source code will always remain hidden. It is not open-source", said Apple in its request, through lawyers Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. The version posted on GitHub was supposedly iOS 9, a previous version of Apple's operating system.

While the leak just gained mainstream attention this week, the code has been floating around for a while.

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. Although the source was only available for a short time, it's likely that hundreds of people viewed and downloaded the material while it was available.

Motherboard confirmed that this particular source code began circulating more widely in 2017 with a fourth and fifth source who are familiar with the jailbreaking and iPhone research communities.

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