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Earlier this week, source code for iBoot, a core component of the iPhone's operating system, leaked on GitHub. The code was old, for a version of iOS 9, and it was quickly pulled from GitHub after Apple issued a DMCA takedown notice, but it left many wondering how such sensitive code ended up publicly available.

To answer that question, Motherboard got in touch with unnamed sources who were involved in the leak and investigated screenshots, text messages, and more, to determine just how it happened.

ios_9_ipad_iphone-800x481.jpg

As it turns out, the code originally came from a low-level Apple employee who took the code from Apple in 2016 to share with friends in the jailbreaking community. This employee wasn't unhappy with Apple and didn't steal the code with malicious intent, but instead was encouraged by friends to obtain the code to benefit the jailbreaking community.
The person took the iBoot source code--and additional code that has yet to be widely leaked--and shared it with a small group of five people.

"He pulled everything, all sorts of Apple internal tools and whatnot," a friend of the intern told me. Motherboard saw screenshots of additional source code and file names that were not included in the GitHub leak and were dated from around the time of this first leak.
The original group of five people who were provided with access to the code didn't intend to share it, but it somehow got out. From one of the original people involved:
"I personally never wanted that code to see the light of day. Not out of greed but because of fear of the legal firestorm that would ensue," they said. "The Apple internal community is really full of curious kids and teens.I knew one day that if those kids got it they'd be dumb enough to push it to GitHub."
The code began circulating more widely in 2017 and picked up in popularity late in the year before ending up on GitHub this week. Many in the jailbreaking and iPhone research communities attempted to stop sharing, but the major public leak couldn't be avoided.

According to the unnamed people who spoke to Motherboard, what leaked wasn't the "full leak." "It's not the original leak-it's a copy," said one source.

Following the leak, Apple confirmed the authenticity of the code in a statement to MacRumors and pointed out that it's for a three-year-old operating system that's been replaced by iOS 11 and is in use only on a small number of devices.
"Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections."
The iBoot code leak should not be of concern to the average user because Apple has many layers of protection in place, like the Secure Enclave, and does not rely on source code secrecy alone to keep its users safe. The leak could, however, make it easier for people to locate vulnerabilities to create new jailbreaks.

Article Link: iPhone Source Code Was Leaked by Low-Level Apple Employee
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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BREAKING NEWS: Android source code leaked, possibly by Google themselves!!

https://source.android.com

This isn't a big deal. If anything it means finding some remaining open holes which can then be patched. All Linux is open source. There aren't issues there because of it. If anything it means others can help to find vulnerabilities which can then be corrected.

iOS 9 was released 3 years ago. A LOT has changed in the source code since then and this isn't even the entire source as it can't be compiled.
 
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iOSFangirl6001

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2015
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Yikes. I wonder if he's going to be fired.

Pink Slip Time

The funny thing is that his friends push him to do it and then they expose him.

Funny how “friends” can throw friends under the bus huh?
Also peer pressure may have been a red flag as to how good of “friends” they really were

“Dude come do this thing that’s possibly illegal or could get us sued”

Not well thought out on the part of the friends
 
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LoadStar

macrumors member
Mar 15, 2011
57
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Following the leak, Apple confirmed the authenticity of the code in a statement to MacRumors and pointed out that it's for a three-year-old operating system that's been replaced by iOS 11 and is in use only on a small number of devices.
Really? Any iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad Mini 1, iPod Touch 5th Gen, etc. can't run anything above iOS 9. I imagine there are more of those devices still out there than you might think.

I know that where I work, people and departments still continue to hang on to quite a lot of these types of devices, despite efforts from IT to get them to trade up or give them up.
 
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thequietaussie

macrumors member
Mar 15, 2016
71
175
iOS 9 was released 3 years ago. A LOT has changed in the source code since then and this isn't even the entire source as it can't be compiled.

Low level code like this is changed on an "as needed" basis, so it's likely to be mostly the same, barring any vulnerability fixes since then. But there's a reason jailbreaking has gotten incredibly hard - it's already pretty solid.
 
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ZippoS

macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2015
2
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Apple's got $200,000 bounty for any bugs found in IOS' secure boot. This leak could be good for the Jailbreak community, but it could also be a nice paycheque for some smart programmer.
 
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DeepIn2U

macrumors G3
May 30, 2002
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Yikes. I wonder if he's going to be fired.


low-level Apple employee who took the code from Apple in 2016 to share with friends in the jailbreaking community.


This employee wasn't unhappy with Apple and didn't steal the code with malicious intent...

He pulled everything, all sorts of Apple internal tools and whatnot

The original group of five people who were provided with access to the code didn't intend to share it, but it somehow got out.

So how did it leak out if they didn't intend for it to be as so? Simply delete it, keep the PC OFFLINE. You'd figure the group knows about these basic tennants if they didn't want it to leak out ...

I personally never wanted that code to see the light of day. Not out of greed but because of fear of the legal firestorm that would ensue,

^ THAT is the only reason we're reading this horsecrap ... to save their arses from a legal suit. All this running around the real facks of
a) getting no permission from Apple to take the source code, and internal tools, with the intent to share it illegally with the jailbreaken community which doesn't have licensed rights to the tools nor the source code in the first place.

Need to stop treating adults with full intent to commit an act as children here.
 
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