Source code for key iOS component iBoot leaked and published on GitHub

Source code for key iOS component iBoot leaked and published on GitHub

Part of the source code for the iOS 9 bootloader was leaked and anonymously posted on GitHub. With the code out in the world, hackers could probe it for vulnerabilities and find ways to exploit the system to the detriment of the greater iOS user base.

The leak could have implications for iOS security: it is responsible for launching a trusted boot of iOS. This is the very first program that runs when a user powers up their iPhone. This component verifies that iOS is loaded correctly every time and if the kernel is signed by Apple. Researchers believe the code to be real, and could be a significant security leak, according to Motherboard.

While the code's existence was brief, it sent ripples through the cybersecurity community, with one Mac and iOS expert calling it the "biggest leak in history".

'It's a huge deal, ' Jonathan Levin, who writes books about iOS system programming, said in an interview with Motherboard.

This development can lead to compromising or jailbreaking of iOS-powered devices.

While some may question the authenticity of this piece of code, several searchers have confirmed that it aligns with the reverse engineered code.

The code leaked onto GitHub claims to be designed for iOS 9 but much of it is likely to be found in iOS 11, making the leak potentially risky to Apple's mobile software.

Apple hasn't yet responded to news of the leak yet.

Interestingly, the same source code was also published on Reddit four months earlier by a user named apple_internals.

Even though one cannot compile the source code due to missing files, it can however be analyzed to find any vulnerabilities, say security researchers. Copies of the code have been circulating online despite the takedown notice, and the concern is that it could be used to exploit iOS with malware.

An older version of the software for the iPhone and iPad's operating system was posted on the code-sharing site GitHub last night, February 7. The "iBoot" source code is proprietary and it includes Apple's copyright notice. 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.

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