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Apple responds to iPhone source code leak, says it doesn’t pose a threat to security

Published Feb 8th, 2018 2:47PM EST
Apple iBoot source code leak
Image: Apple

Hours after Motherboard reported that the iBoot source code for iOS 9 had been leaked on GitHub, Apple has issued a response, significantly downplaying the severity of the leak. When the leak was first uncovered, panic set it almost immediately, with one security researcher going as far as to call it “the biggest leak in history.”

As Motherboard explains, iBoot is the program responsible for ensuring that the operating system of the device loads correctly. It’s the first process that runs when you boot up an iPhone or an iPad, and having it out in the open could potentially give hackers the ability to develop new exploits or jailbreaks for the software.

At least, that’s what we were led to believe from the initial story. Apple tells a different version of the story:

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 report suggests that the leaked code might still be useful for hackers despite the fact that it’s over two years old, but Apple’s statement seems to refute that claim. Just keep your devices updated, and you’ll be fine.

Of course, that didn’t stop Apple from issuing a takedown notice and having the code removed as quickly as it could, but the company makes it sound like iOS device owners don’t have anything to worry about. Here’s hoping Apple is right, because the code was up long enough for it to spread far beyond GitHub.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.