A secret part of Apple’s iPhone software has been posted online in a leak that could potentially allow hackers to find security holes in the smartphone.
On Wednesday night, an anonymous user, according to The Telegraph, published part of the “source code” – the computing instructions that underpin the iOS software - on GitHub, a website for computer programmers to share code.
As a result, Apple issued a take-down notice to GitHub, where the file was posted. The company is yet to comment.
The event captured the attention of several security experts, including one who told Motherboard that it was the ‘biggest leak in Apple’s history.’
“It’s a huge deal,” Jonathan Levin, who writes books about iOS system programming, said in an interview with Motherboard.
Levin was also able to confirm that the source code is authentic.
With iBoot out in the open, it could make it easier for hackers to spot vulnerabilities in the software.
It could also open up opportunities for savvy consumers to “jailbreak” their iPhones, or free their device from constraints imposed by Apple.
Apple has always kept its software source code under wraps to avoid anyone stealing or hunting for vulnerabilities that might be used to break the security of its products. It runs a bug bounty program, where eagle-eyed security researchers and white hat hackers are encouraged to alert them of potential security holes in its software in exchange for money.
What’s interesting about the leak is that it was first posted on Reddit about a year ago, but it went largely unnoticed. However, it’s likely that some people noticed the leak and have been working on discovering iOS vulnerabilities for months. On the other hand, Apple has surely made several improvements to its iBoot code since iOS 9, so it’s unclear what might come of this leak.