Apple Confirms iBoot Source Code Leak is Real, Downplays Significance

Image Apple

Image Apple

Apple's top-secret iBoot firmware source code in iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices has leaked into a public GitHub repo.

Having access to such source code is one way for security researchers to find flaws in source code and report any bugs they might throw up that could potentially be exploited by hackers.

KitGuru Says: Given how much money Apple is willing to shell out for iBoot vulnerabilities, we'll likely see security researchers rushing to analyse this code as quickly as possible. "This development proves that third-party security software from the likes of MobileIron, AirWatch, SOTI and others remains a needed part of any mobility strategy to thwart jailbreaking and intrusions to the enterprise". According to CNET, Apple offers $200,000 to anyone who can find problems with iBoot's code as part of their bug bounty program as it is such a crucial part of their system.

"It's a huge deal", he added. While GitHub removed the code, it was up for several hours and is now circulating elsewhere on the Internet.

Apple, on its part, has downplayed the effect that the leak will have on iPhones.

Apple said iBoot source code is proprietary and not open-source.

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Levin was also able to confirm that the source code is authentic. Levin suggests that so-called "tethered" jailbreaks that require connecting the phone to a computer could become a reality again soon. These types of jailbreaks used to be common on older versions of iOS, but as Apple has increased the security of their operating system with features such as the Secure Enclave Process chip, it's been more and more hard to unlock phones in this manner.

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'.

In terms of iPhone security, a cyberattack that could involve taking over an iPhone user's camera and microphone if a user clicked a text message link was revealed in August 2016.

Following the leak of the company's source code, Apple has since issued a take-down notice to GitHub to prevent the iBoot source code from being distributed online.

Curiously, the iBoot code surfaced previous year on Reddit; where it failed to get much attention from anyone.

Apple confirmed as much with its take down request. But portions of the code are likely still used in the current version.

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