Apple has issued a DMCA takedown notice with GitHub seeking the removal of the leaked iOS source code process called iBoot. The post is now inaccessible.
It appears, however, that Apple's action came a bit late, as the source code, which the company said involves the soon-to-exit iOS 9, has been backed up and circulated online. Unfazed, Apple said the incident will not amount to a serious security threat.
The iOS device maker maintained that the leaked source code is now largely irrelevant since majority of iPhone and iPad users have already been updated to iOS 10 versions and up. Also, users who regularly update on their operating system will not be impacted by the potential vulnerabilities that can be sifted through iBoot, the company assured.
Still, there are parts of the leaked code that remain applicable to the latest iOS version, which indicates there could be openings for hackers to do their work.
Biggest Leak In Apple's History
That the iBoot code, which is part of the startup process for all iPhones and iPads, got leaked despite Apple's tough security measures was in itself alarming. Apple watchers fear the unauthorized posting on GitHub could turn out as the biggest leak episode in the company's history.
The code, for instance, has been validated as legitimate, and the solid proof is Apple's takedown action following the GitHub posting. With copies of the source code freely circulating on the web, the chance is high that someone could dig deeper and unearth possible exploits.
On its takedown notice, Apple has acknowledged that the leaked iBoot process, while centered on iOS 9, still have code entries that can be connected to iOS 11. In other words, hacks can be potentially applied to exploit holes that might work on the latest iOS version.
Likewise, it is believed that the iBoot code could be the key to jailbreak existing iOS versions, including iOS 11.
All Current iOS Devices Remain Safe
Apple, however, seems confident that the leaked code will not pose serious threat, insisting that "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 company said in a statement provided to AppleInsider.
At best, the leaked code might lead to the discovery of vulnerabilities and creation of jailbreaks that will be confined to iOS 9. Fortunately, Apple said, most iPhones and iPads now run on iOS 10 and iOS 11, indicating that any exploits to be found on the iBoot process will no longer see comprehensive usage.
According to Apple, up to 93 percent of iOS device users have already migrated to iOS 10 and up.