Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has confirmed that it knowingly left the iOS 10 beta kernel unencrypted. When the company unveiled the new mobile operating system last week, it boasted for tons of features including and improved smarter Siri and copy and pasting options. As usual, Apple allowed used to download a preview version of the new iOS 10 before its official release in September.
Some experts who inspected the preview versions were shocked upon discovering that Apple failed to encrypt the workings of the core of the new operating system as they normally do. Apple left bare important codes that powers millions of iPhones and iPads available on the market today. This appears to be a helping and to any person looking for weaknesses in the new software.
However, Apple has come out to defend its move saying that it was not a mistake but rather an intentional move. It is undoubtable that the lack of encryptions of the kernel is a rare move by the company that is known to keep its inner working a secret. Apple has been notoriously secretive about most of its products that most experts now believe the lack of an encryption was accidental and not intentional. If so, such a mistake could be disastrous and almost unbelievable. Researchers compared it to forgetting to install doors on an elevator.
Recently, Apple has been shifting towards more transparency, especially with the security issues. This comes in the wake of a struggle with the FBI over the unlocking of an iPhone that was used by the San Bernardino shooter. FBI tried to compel the company to unlock the iPhone that triggered the CEO Tim Cook to write an open letter to die-hard Apple customer explaining why the company did not unlock the phone.
The kernel is basically the core of any operating system. In iOS, it determines how apps use the hardware component and also enforcing all security protocols. Leaving the kernel unencrypted exposes it to attacks. However, it does not in any way make it easier for users to go around the kernel and hijack its operations or even compromise the device.
Apple failed to specify how the move would improve the software’s performance. It will now be easier for people to discover and report bugs before Apple rolls out the software in fall.