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Author Topic: How iPhone Hackers Got Their Hands on the New iOS Months Before Its Release  (Read 17 times)
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« on: May 25, 2020, 01:35:53 AM »

Security researchers and hackers have had access to a leaked early version of iOS 14, the iPhone's next operating system, since at least February, Motherboard has learned.

Thatís almost eight months before the expected official release of iOS 14, given that Apple usually publishes the new iOS in September along with the announcement of new phones. Sometimes, screenshots and descriptions of new features leak before the official reveal. This time, however, an entire version of the operating system has leaked and is being widely circulated among hackers and security researchers.

Motherboard has not been able to independently verify exactly how it leaked, but five sources in the jailbreaking community familiar with the leak told us they think that someone obtained a development iPhone 11 running a version of iOS 14 dated December 2019, which was made to be used only by Apple developers. According to those sources, someone purchased it from vendors in China for thousands of dollars, and then extracted the iOS 14 internal build and distributed it in the iPhone jailbreaking and hacking community.

For the last few months, information about iOS 14 has been trickling out on the Apple blog 9to5Mac, which obtained a copy of the leak. At the same time, people who trade stolen or leaked Apple code and hardware have been distributing this early version of iOS 14 to several security researchers, giving them an opportunity to take an early look into new code, and find new vectors to attack it, according to four sources in the security research community.

ďIt gives insight into a decrypted copy of the iOS file system months before release so it could be very useful. Itís pre-release, lots could change, but itís a trove of information,Ē said Ryan Duff, Director of Cyber Products at SIXGEN, who reviewed the leaked code for Motherboard. ďI canít say this will give an easy jailbreak or anything like that, but itís way more information about an upcoming iOS than we ever see normally.Ē

A screenshot of some of the strings from the leaked IOS 14 internal build
The final iOS will almost certainly look and function differently than this early version, but iPhone hackers and researchers now have a huge lead time in which they're able to probe iOS 14 in order to look for vulnerabilities in whatever is eventually released to the public.

Moreover, this leak shows once again that security researchers and iPhone hackers are starting to put some serious cracks into the once-vaunted security of iOS. In the last year or so, researchers have released a public jailbreak for almost all iPhones, the price of unknown vulnerabilities in iPhones are reportedly going down, signaling a market where they are more common, and several companies have caught hackers using sophisticated iPhone hacks in the wild.

Apple declined to comment on the leak.


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