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Apple plays down iPhone source code leak risk
09 February 2018, 01:57 | Megan Pierce
According to Motherboard, this code actually appeared first on Reddit late past year before being posted to Github, but was initially ignored due to the user's short posting history. Now, it's almost impossible for hackers to even find bugs in iOS code, making iOS exploits relatively rare, unlike in Windows and Android.
Because it's such a crucial part of an iOS device's security, Apple offers its bug bounty program's highest reward for anyone who can find vulnerabilities with iBoot, with a $200,000 payout.
The iBoot code is said to be part of the iPhone operating system that ensures the proper startup of iOS when you turn on the iPhone. It is, however, the first app that runs when you turn on an iOS device, silently transitioning from a black screen to the white Apple icon to iOS's colorful Home screen. This component verifies that iOS is loaded correctly every time and if the kernel is signed by Apple. The version of iBoot that leaked is labeled as being for iOS 9.
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However, making the code public could allow intrepid hackers to sniff around in iBoot and find their own vulnerabilities, only instead of reporting them to Apple, they could tap into the flaws and use them as vectors of attack against iOS.
Apple iOS and MacOS specialist Jonathan Levin told the website that the iBoot posting is "the biggest leak in history". Apple's latest iOS adoption numbers show that fewer than 10% of active devices are running software older than iOS 10 with 65% on iOS 11. "Apple does not use security through obscurity, so this does not contain anything risky, just an easier to read format for the boot loader code". Another security researcher says the code is real. Apple has confirmed with TechCrunch that the code appears to be real, but adds that it's tied to old software. Apple hasn't commented on the matter as yet.
After our original article earlier today, a DCMA notice was sent to GitHub by Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP, and was made for Apple by said legal group. "It is not open-source". However, due to low Reddit karma of the user, the post got buried. These days, modders are more likely to sell the exploit than release it for free to the jailbreak community.
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