This is the earliest that the iOS 14 source code has been leaked out to jailbreakers, but that may also come with a downside for cyber criminals.
- Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 10:30 AM IST
An early, in-development copy of iOS 14, nabbed from the market on a testing phase iPhone 11, has reportedly been doing the rounds on the internet from as early as February this year, according to a report by Vice US’ Motherboard. According to the sources that it spoke to, the early copy of iOS 14 was from December 2019, and was certified as a developer-only copy that wasn’t meant to be accessed outside of a tight circle. However, what’s alarming is that, with the iOS 14 developer build leaking out in full over eight months in advance, this made for one of the biggest leaks from Apple, for both hackers and security researchers alike.
According to Motherboard’s sources, the source code has been leaked out to a wide number of people including security researchers to explore possible flaws in the early iOS 14 framework, and hackers for the same reason as well. However, there are a number of factors at play here. Since this comes as a very early copy of iOS 14, many things may change about the final build of the OS. This is coupled with the fact that Apple does not sit back and take in leaks such as this, and this typically has stringent repercussions of jailbreakers and anyone that steals their code.
As a result, what remains to be seen is if the procuring of the iOS 14 source code does lead to the discovering of any particular flaw that deals lasting injury to Apple. Given the timelines, Apple will likely be able to work in-house on further identification of issues with iOS 14, and fix a host of them by themselves. As a result, despite the iOS 14 source code leaking out this early, it may not be so that the vaunted levels of security of iOS would be affected badly. This, in turn, would mean that your iPhones will likely still remain as secure as they are today.
However, that said, frequencies of jailbreaks for iPhones have increased. Hackers have so far managed to release jailbreaks of almost every version of iOS out there. The utility of jailbreaking iPhones has remained largely debatable — while some cite the lack of security that it represents, others have stated that getting a freedom from the walled garden approach of Apple can make the iPhone experience significantly different. That, however, is a large part of the Apple experience that the company has always attempted to sell to its users, and for the large part, it has worked.
As Motherboard said in its report, this is the first time that an upcoming version of iOS has leaked in full this many months ahead of its public launch, which will likely take place some time in September. This is coupled with the fact that exploitable iOS flaws are sold in the market at a significantly lesser rate, which does mean that some cracks are beginning to appear in iOS 14’s armour. For now, though, your iPhones will still be more secure than many other systems out there.