iOS 14 leaks sprung from Apple's supply chain, distributed & sold on social media

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2020
A leaked version of iOS 14, likely obtained from within Apple's supply chain in China, has been circulating around iPhone jailbreaking and hacking circles since at least February.

Credit: Caspar Camille Rubin
Credit: Caspar Camille Rubin


While leaks about upcoming Apple products aren't uncommon, sources in the jailbreaking community say that the iOS 14 build is "the first time ever" that a full early build of unreleased Apple software has surfaced so many months in advance.

Those sources told Motherboard that they think a development iPhone running an early version of the software was obtained from within Apple's supply chain in China. At some point, someone purchased that device for "thousands of dollars" and extracted the internal iOS 14 build, which was dated December 2019.

Independent security researchers also confirmed to Motherboard that an early iOS 14 build was given to security researchers so that they could get an early look at the code to find vulnerabilities. Other venues have found avenues for purchase of the code on social media, with the Chinese Weibo the most common source.

Of course, the leaked build is a very early iteration of Apple's next mobile software update. Because of that, there's a good chance that a lot will change in iOS 14 between February and its release date later in 2020 -- and some features won't make the release.

Motherboard also notes that there is a hashtag on Twitter -- #AppleInternals -- used for trading leaked Apple code, hardware and documents. The current leaked iOS 14 build has shown up on that marketplace, but is also being traded among networks of security researchers and jailbreakers.

Two pseudonymous Twitter users confirmed to the publication that they had access to the leaked code, and one of them added that it was a "literal copy" of a build installed on a device with root access enabled.

At least some security researchers said they were staying away from the build, citing fears of repercussions from Apple. The Cupertino tech giant is notorious for going after leakers. Apple declined to comment on the current leak, however.

Back in 2019, an investigation found that there was a gray market for "dev-fused" iPhones illegally smuggled out of Apple facilities. Once resold, researchers use the development iPhones to probe iOS for security vulnerabilities.

Since February, there has been a steady stream of leaks related to upcoming Apple hardware and features within iOS. Those leaks were reportedly sourced from the iOS 14 internal build.

One security researcher, SIXGEN Director of Cyber Product Ryan Duff, told Motherboard that this is "definitely a bad leak."

"This development build leaking is just another example of how Apple's security regarding leaks has deteriorated over time," added Duff.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 809member
    Pretty sure the leak is from Wuhan.

    just saying. 
    magman1979peterhartelijahgsvanstromavon b7watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    My guess is with all the tension between the countries that some in China may feel that 'sticking' it to Apple is a patriotic duty. The future for tech looks very confusing. It may be that countries only use and manufacture in country for devices or some such thing. This is rather ridiculous (will raise cost and delay progress) but it doesn't seem out of the question.
    mpw_amherstmagman1979svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,611member
    Is it just me, or have comments on articles been WAY down since the site redesign?
    edited May 2020 peterhartmwhitemike54applguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    Fatman
  • Reply 5 of 16
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    When its possible. It’s not possible now.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    China will not change, Apple needs to. Use the billions In cash to build the most advanced fab plant in the world on US soil. Reduce the number of human laborers to create the product, since that is a substantial cost, and incentivize the supply chain to move operations to the US as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    melgross said:
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    When its possible. It’s not possible now.
    Oh, I know. Otherwise they would’ve done it. I just want to know they’re working on solving the problem.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,989member
    mazda 3s said:
    Is it just me, or have comments on articles been WAY down since the site redesign?
    Agreed. I'm not sure most people have figured out how to make it work. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,989member
    Fatman said:
    China will not change, Apple needs to. Use the billions In cash to build the most advanced fab plant in the world on US soil. Reduce the number of human laborers to create the product, since that is a substantial cost, and incentivize the supply chain to move operations to the US as well.
    I don't know if that's possible. It would be great, a fully roboticplant where raw components and materials went in and Devices came out with nary a fingerprint on them. But I don't know if the technology is there yet for that. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Anilu_777Anilu_777 Posts: 319member
    Fatman said:
    China will not change, Apple needs to. Use the billions In cash to build the most advanced fab plant in the world on US soil. Reduce the number of human laborers to create the product, since that is a substantial cost, and incentivize the supply chain to move operations to the US as well.
    It’s dollars and sense. In other words the supply chain is all in Asia. So from a simple cost standpoint it would be a huge undertaking to move it all and take years. Manufacturing smartphones is still labour-intensive. American workers won’t work for what Chinese workers will. So no. It won’t work. Automation will not do the job for years. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    melgross said:
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    When its possible. It’s not possible now.

    Automation is completely possible, I've worked in this field for decades.   The problem is often far more complex but a big issue is that it gives Apple a doge on taxes that they would have to pay in the USA.   If it was simply a wages issue they would have left China already as China is no longer a low cost manufacture.    Beyond that on a highly automated line wages are not as big of an issue as many think.

    What many people here don't remember is what happened when apple and the other manufactures left for China.    Not one item ended up lower in cost to the consumer.    Instead margins went up considerably and in Apples case they got really greedy with pricing.   Those high profit at the expense of the workers in China really leads to a situation where it is easy for somebody to feel justified in stealing Apples tech.

    In the end Apple kinda deserves all the grief they get over this garbage.    It might not be "right" in the most pure sense but the way people in China are treated isn't right either.   Much of that bad treatment is due directly to the CCP and the parties involvement in Business.
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 16
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Anilu_777 said:
    Fatman said:
    China will not change, Apple needs to. Use the billions In cash to build the most advanced fab plant in the world on US soil. Reduce the number of human laborers to create the product, since that is a substantial cost, and incentivize the supply chain to move operations to the US as well.
    It’s dollars and sense. In other words the supply chain is all in Asia. So from a simple cost standpoint it would be a huge undertaking to move it all and take years. Manufacturing smartphones is still labour-intensive. American workers won’t work for what Chinese workers will. So no. It won’t work. Automation will not do the job for years. 
    First off I suspect that people don't realize just how automated the plants in China are.   The days of people manually populating PCB with components like seen in iPhone are gone.   Beyond that we need to remember where all of this stuff came from in the first place.   The fact is government (both conservative and liberal) conspired with business to move much of our industry to China.   Americans got feed every excuse you can think of from the left and the right but in the end got screwed over.

    Sadly we still have people in these forums defending free trade and the resulting theft of IP by China.   Seriously this is IP theft and in a way Apple is right to see it that way.   The problem is, it is an everyday thing in China.    The Chinese military even has a program to encourage this theft.   In a nut shell you have a government in China ran by thugs and thief's.   Now we shouldn't mix up what the government in China encourages with what the people there value because every person living in mainline China is impacted by the governments behavior.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Anilu_777 said:
    Fatman said:
    China will not change, Apple needs to. Use the billions In cash to build the most advanced fab plant in the world on US soil. Reduce the number of human laborers to create the product, since that is a substantial cost, and incentivize the supply chain to move operations to the US as well.
    It’s dollars and sense. In other words the supply chain is all in Asia. So from a simple cost standpoint it would be a huge undertaking to move it all and take years. Manufacturing smartphones is still labour-intensive. American workers won’t work for what Chinese workers will. So no. It won’t work. Automation will not do the job for years. 
    Generally, I agree with you — except the labor salaries part. That difference is almost erased now. However, labor conditions and the laws around them still differ a lot. My question is, should we really allow that to define business advantages?
  • Reply 14 of 16
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    melgross said:
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    When its possible. It’s not possible now.
    Oh, I know. Otherwise they would’ve done it. I just want to know they’re working on solving the problem.
    You can believe it! If they ever do,which isn’t known, we MAY see some production come back here, as unlikely as that might be.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member

    wizard69 said:
    melgross said:
    When in the world will Apple wise up and automate iPhone production completely? The more people in the process, the greater the risk for leaks and theft.
    When its possible. It’s not possible now.

    Automation is completely possible, I've worked in this field for decades.   The problem is often far more complex but a big issue is that it gives Apple a doge on taxes that they would have to pay in the USA.   If it was simply a wages issue they would have left China already as China is no longer a low cost manufacture.    Beyond that on a highly automated line wages are not as big of an issue as many think.

    What many people here don't remember is what happened when apple and the other manufactures left for China.    Not one item ended up lower in cost to the consumer.    Instead margins went up considerably and in Apples case they got really greedy with pricing.   Those high profit at the expense of the workers in China really leads to a situation where it is easy for somebody to feel justified in stealing Apples tech.

    In the end Apple kinda deserves all the grief they get over this garbage.    It might not be "right" in the most pure sense but the way people in China are treated isn't right either.   Much of that bad treatment is due directly to the CCP and the parties involvement in Business.
    Automation of phone assembly just isn’t possible now. No robot can manage the complex three dimensional process that assembly requires. Are they working on it, you can be sure. But whether it will be possible anytime soon is unlikely.

    what you’re saying other wise isn’t really true either. You don’t know what Apple’s margins were, because it’s been decades since they’ve produced major products here on a mass basis. So there no comparison possible. As costs keep going up everywhere, and that certainly included manufacturing in China, where costs have gone up several hundred percent over the past ten years, or so. Marking have remained about the same. Apple’s overall profitability, even including the b]very profitable areas in services, has remained the same. It’s gone up a bit as corporate taxes were lowered in the 2018 Trump tax package. But otherwise, Apple’s margins and profits have remained the same for a very long time since they began to grow again.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    caladaniancaladanian Posts: 329member
    Doubling down on security. Sigh. 
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