Earlier this week Vice’s tech arm Motherboard reported that Apple’s iOS source code was posted online via GitHub, a popular code hosting platform. Now, in a rather unexpected twist, the publication says that the sensitive code was actually first leaked by an Apple intern.
Motherboard reports that the intern who allegedly stole the code first sent it to a small group of friends amounting to just five individuals that are part of the iOS jailbreaking community. The leaker hoped that the code would help the jailbreaking community circumvent Apple’s notoriously difficult to crack walled-garden mobile operating system.
The former Apple intern reportedly took “all sorts of Apple internal tools and whatnot,” along with the iOS source code, according to one of the people who first received the code. The idea was for the code to never go beyond the five people that initially received it, though it eventually spread and become more public at some point last year.
The source code was first shared in a private Discord chat group and then eventually shared though Reddit, during a period of time roughly four months ago. Strangely, reports of the code leaking didn’t surface in the media at that time.
When the code finally made its way to GitHub, the situation spiralled out of control considerably, though Motherboard‘s source says that Apple was already aware of the leak before it hit the code hosting platform — which isn’t surprising given how vigilantly Apple protects its intellectual property.
Apple released a statement earlier this week stating that the company is not concerned about the potential security issues that could stem from this source code becoming public.
In a statement Apple said “the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code.”
In part, this is because the code stems from iOS 9, a relatively older version of Apple’s mobile operating system.