The plan was originally to make sure that the code never left the initial circle of five friends, but apparently the code spread beyond the original group sometime past year.
A recent leak of iOS bootloader source code won't impact iPhone security, according to Apple. Further, the company assured that its products are safe because of the hardware and software protections that accompany them. According to Motherboard, it was down to a "low-level Apple employee" who worked at the company in 2016, around the time of iOS 9.
Moreover, with Apple's huge bounty for those that find critical bugs in iBoot - up to $200,000! - programmers could dig inside the leaved source code and help Apple with adding more patches to the next iBoot and make iPhones more secure.
An initial report from Motherboard said that the code could be retrieved on GitHub, a hosting service for software developers to publish and share code. However, multiple copies of the code have already spread online.
"Apple saying it's old, yah that's true", noted Wardle, "but a lot of that code is likely still used in iOS 11". The "iBoot" starts up the system when the iPhone is first turned on.
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Apple directed Github to remove the code since all codes are kept private to ensure consumer's privacy.
As of now, there is no information on how the anonymous user ZioShiba got hold of the iOS source code. Essentially, it is like the BIOS code found in PCs.
Apple keeps code like this firmly under lock and key, in a form of 'security through obscurity', as it is essential to the core functionality of iOS. Last year, a Reddit user named Apple_Internals posted the code, but at the time, it failed to gain the same amount of attention. This means that updated devices are not completely at risk to vulnerabilities hackers might find in the source code. The same also applies to jail-breakers who'd like to offer hacks for popular iPhone or iPad models that could open up more functionality with the device. But then, the Cupertino-based company unsurprisingly doesn't see it that way.
Both of our sources say they believe that someone not associated with the original leak ultimately posted it on GitHub: "What leaked yesterday isn't even the full leak really".
In 2004, for example, millions of lines of code were leaked for Microsoft's Windows NT and 2000 operating systems.