It is normal for leaks and tidbits of information to seep through the news waves of upcoming Apple OS releases, but this year it’s different. Vice reports today that a copy of iOS 14 has been spreading through the jailbreak community since at least February.
It is believed the copy of iOS 14 came from a person on the supply chain in China who then sold it for thousands of American dollars, from the report:
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.
In particular, the copy of the system is being traded using the #AppleInternal hashtag from accounts that are often “pseudonymous,” and sometimes do actually have legitimate Apple leaks and information. As Vice points out, security researchers within the jailbreaking community are using this copy of iOS 14 to look for potential exploits in the future once it’s released, but two sources they spoke to say they aren’t using the copy fearing punishment from Apple.
Vice specfically points out two accounts sharing the copy, one being @Uredditor,
“There’s a network of people who have access to such things,” Unknownz21said in a chat with Motherboard. We cross-checked information this user knew about the leak with others who also had it.
The 2nd person is @YRH04E:
Another person, who goes by the name of Atomic F** and describes themselves as an enthusiast of Apple software and hardware that’s only intended for internal use, shared a copy of the leaked iOS 14 code with Motherboard. We verified that the code was the same one as the one circulating online by comparing version numbers and details of it with three people who claimed to have it. Motherboard has since deleted the code.
As Vice notes an investigation last year pointed out that there is a gray market where software from early prototypes of devices on factory floors in China get sold. Apple does go after them, even one Gizmodo journalists who happened to find an iPhone 4 prototype at a bar before its release.
Apple declined to comment when Vice reached out, however, Apple employees did say “That sucks” but didn’t acknowledge the report itself, another one said that they are internally speaking on the leaks.