The source code for iOS 9, an older version of Apple's mobile software, was posted on the Github code-sharing earlier this week, doubtless causing gnashing of teeth in Cupertino and joy in the iPhone jailbreaking community.
The access to iBoot's code may have several implications; it could allow researchers to find vulnerabilities in the systems more easily, but it might also open the door to less benevolent hackers willing to exploit the hole.
For example, iBoot runs when the iPhone transitions from a black screen to a white screen and then the iOS home screen. It's the first thing that starts up when the phone is turned on, because it loads the kernel and verifies that it was signed by Apple. Even though it's from iOS 9, it could still potentially pose security risks for users on the current version of iOS via back doors and reverse engineering.
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Experts are calling the iOS leak one of the biggest in history.
'It's a huge deal, ' Jonathan Levin, who writes books about iOS system programming, said in an interview with Motherboard. The company insisted there is no security threat following the leak, which could lead to the discovery of system vulnerabilities and creation of iOS jailbreak.
Although Apple says the leak isn't much to worry about, it still took steps to take the iBoot code off of the internet.
Although it is not yet known whether the code came from inside Apple, security researchers believe it is authentic. Apple's quick DMCA filing also strongly suggests the leak is real. "It is not open-source", the request, filed by the legal firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton said.
It's not the first time that someone has posted iBoot's code online; Motherboard also discovered that the code was published to the site Reddit by a user named "apple_internals" past year. Programmers could use the information to mimic iOS on non-Apple devices. It's likely we'll see some changes in the source code moving forward in order to address some of the damage that is now possible at the hands of enterprising hackers.