Apple's iOS 14 is the latest version of the iPhone's operating system to date. Released in September 2020, most consumers are only now starting to get their hands on the new platform. However, according to earlier news reports, it seems that some users were able to experience iOS 14 several months before its public release.
iOS 14 Gets Hacked
According to reports, hackers originally gained access to Apple's iOS 14 all the way back in February; nearly a full eight months before it's official release.
Leaks aren't exactly new. In many cases, leaked photos or other documents reveal key features or re-designs before they're actually unveiled to the public. In this case, however, the entire operating system was accessed by hackers.
While it's not clear how hackers managed to access iOS 14, it's widely believed that somebody obtained a development version of the iPhone 11 with the iOS already installed. Obviously such hardware is meant for use solely by the development team at Apple. It's possible that one of the devices was lost or even that it was stolen from an Apple developer.
But that alone is not enough to access iOS 14 early. In this case, it appears that another actor purchased the compromised device, extracted the early build of iOS 14, and immediately began circulating it through the online hacking community.
Jack Morse, cybersecurity expert with ESET, spoke about the importance of keeping new releases out of public hands by saying: "Criminal hackers will always look for loopholes and vulnerabilities in any operating system, so it’s wise to try and keep a lid on the ecosystem for as long as possible to reduce the chance of those issues being found."
Unfortunately, the early release of iOS 14 has given hackers a significant head start when it comes to developing potential hacks and exploits for the latest version of iOS. Whether or not they've been able to capitalize on this is anybody's guess, as iOS 14 is still extremely new. It will likely take several weeks, if not months, before we have an idea of the damage that's been done.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
There is a possible light at the end of the tunnel, however. Not only have hackers had their hands on iOS 14 for months, but security researchers and developers have, too. This has given them ample opportunity to research potential security issues and come up with preemptive solutions of their own.
It's also important to note that the early version of iOS 14 in question was only a development build. As such, it lacked some of the features that are currently being touted in the official release. Moreover, the entire GUI looked a bit different than the final version.
Now that iOS 14 is officially in the hands of consumers around the world, it's just a matter of time until we see the potential fallout from the early release. The coming days, weeks, and months will be a trying time for developers, as they worry about potential hacks and jailbreak releases, and it will be interesting to see how Apple responds.
Did Hackers Leak iOS 14 Before it's Official Release?
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