Even though the final version of iOS 14 isn’t expected to drop until September, Motherboard reports (via AppleInsider) that leaked versions of Apple’s mobile operating system have been in the hands of some hackers, bloggers, and researchers since February.
Even though the final version of iOS 14 isn’t expected to drop until September, Motherboard reports (via AppleInsider) that leaked versions of Apple’s mobile operating system have been in the hands of some hackers, bloggers, and researchers since February. Unlike past leaks which consisted of segments and screenshots of the upcoming iOS release, in this case an entire version of the software has leaked.
Leak of iOS 14 this early has Apple uptight
How the leak happened isn’t clear, but the report indicates that someone was able to get his hands on a developmental iPhone 11 with a version of iOS 14 dated last December. As you might expect, another person purchased the phone with the software for thousands of dollars. After the phone changed hands, the buyer was able to isolate and remove iOS 14 from the phone and he passed it along to hackers and jailbreakers (which for Apple has become ballbreakers).
Motherboard brought a copy of the leaked software to cybersecurity firm SIXGEN. Ryan Duff, Director of Cyber Products at the firm noted the final version of iOS 14 could be much different, but the amount of information that leaked out of Apple was impressive. Duff stated that “It gives insight into a decrypted copy of the iOS file system months before release so it could be very useful. It’s pre-release, lots could change, but it’s a trove of information. I can’t say this will give an easy jailbreak or anything like that, but it’s way more information about an upcoming iOS than we ever see normally.” At least one other cybersecurity firm has this version of iOS 14 in its possession and is studying it.
There is a hashtag on Twitter for those who trade in leaked Apple software and hardware and it is #AppleInternals. For obvious reasons, no one uses their real name when working out a deal, but the Apple software and hardware that changes hands is usually legitimate. And the existence of this marketplace doesn’t make Apple employees feel good. One employee said succinctly “that sucks” after hearing about the iOS 14 leak for the first time. Others have reportedly been offered the leaked software but stayed away from it because they were concerned about what Apple’s response might be.
Motherboard did check with three people who claim that they had a copy of iOS 14. One of the three said, “There’s a network of people who have access to such things.” And some of those looking to sell a copy of iOS 14 are doing so right out in the open. One Twitter user posted under the #AppleInternals hashtag, “Looking for iOS 14? Send me a DM.” He shared a copy of the OS with Motherboard and the latter was able to verify that the three people who had the software all have the same version.
With the first public beta of iOS 14 expected to be released on June 22nd, this is the earliest that an iOS build has leaked. The copy that has been circulating is dated December 10th, 2019, and has been offered on the internet since February. And Apple is ready to crack down on those who are involved in leaking iOS 14. Will Strafach, a former jailbreaker who founded iOS security app Guardian Firewall, explains how laser-focused Apple is on the situation. “Shit is wild,” said Strafach. “I feel a bit bad for whoever is messing around as Apple does not take kindly to this.”
Apple does have a history of seeking retribution in situations where it has been unable to keep its unannounced software or hardware under wraps. In 2011 a man named Sergio Calderon found an iPhone prototype on the floor of a San Francisco bar. Apple not only sent the cops to Calderon’s house to track it down, it reportedly had members of its security team dress as San Francisco cops to find the device. Calderon claimed that one of the cops threatened him and it was later discovered that the man wasn’t a cop after all but a member of Apple’s security team.
Apple has declined comment about the iOS 14 leak.