CBS Local — One of Apple’s most guarded secrets has reportedly been leaked online by an anonymous source. The source code for a core component of the iPhone’s operating system was posted to the software development platform GitHub; drawing a quick response from the tech giant.
According to a report from Motherboard, the code is called “iBoot” and is responsible for ensuring your iPhone properly loads iOS when you turn your device on. It also loads and verifies that information is properly signed by Apple when your phone is booting up.
“This is the biggest leak in history,” Jonathan Levin, an author of several book about iOS and Mac OSX’s inner workings told reporters at Motherboard.
Apple responded by filing a copyright takedown request with GitHub shortly after the breach, all but confirming that the leaked code was genuine. The post claims that the source code is for Apple’s older iOS 9 operating system; however, tech experts believe parts of that code are likely still being used in the current iOS 11 system.
The unmasking of the iPhone code may allow hackers, known as jailbreakers, to find a way to break into a victim’s iPhone and decrypt their data. With previous versions of iOS, jailbreakers were able to easily bypass a user’s lock screen and steal their information. Modern version of Apple’s operating system came with new security features to stop the breaches.
Mr. Levin says that having the modern iBoot’s source code is the key for both hackers and security researchers to find vulnerabilities in iOS. A flaw in the program could make iPhones open to a new wave of jailbreaking attacks.
“iBoot is the one component Apple has been holding on to, still encrypting its 64 bit image,” Levin explained. “And now it’s wide open in source code form.” Apple has not responded to requests to comment on the leak.