Apple plays down security fears over leaked iOS source code

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An anonymous leak of iOS source code to GitHub won't impact the security of iPhone users, Apple said.

Jonathan Levin, the author of a series of books on iOS and Mac OSX internals, called the leak "huge", speculating the code is now making rounds in the underground iOS jailbreaking community. According to research scientist Karl Koscher, by issuing a DMCA takedown order, Apple faced perjury charges if the code wasn't authentic. The leaked code contained information on the iPhone's boot up process and its security measures. Further, the company assured that its products are safe because of the hardware and software protections that accompany them.

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Ninety-three percent of users have downloaded iOS 10 or later, and 65 percent have downloaded iOS 11, which includes the latest protections, according to the company.

That's why Apple spent US$225,000 for iPhone-related bugs at Mobile Pwn2Own a year ago, he said.

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Although initially published to a repository on programming website GitHub, the code has now been replaced with a copyright notice - with some suggesting this may prove its authenticity.

Which, to the layman, seems like a big deal - but Apple says the source code that was leaked is outdated, meaning newer versions wouldn't be affected. However, multiple copies of the code have already spread online.

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Speaking to online technology publication Motherboard, Jonathan Levin, an expert on iPhone internal software, said: "This is the biggest leak in history".

Apple recently began using Secure Enclave processors that ensure greater security and made jailbreaking nearly obsolete. However, the user with the same handle is quite active on other platforms such as YouTube (talking about iOS hacks) and a Twitch account, notes DigitalTrends.

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According to Gizmodo, that same bit of code has been circulating the web since late past year, when a user uploaded it on Reddit. Hackers and security researchers could use it to find vulnerabilities in the iOS operating system or make jailbreaking iOS devices easier. The iPhone maker has also confirmed the code posted at GitHub is real indeed, but it isn't clear yet as to how it got leaked or who is responsible for it either. It remains to be seen, however, whether anything will come out of the leak, since modern iPhones now have a Secure Enclave chip for security purposes.

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