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NuPhoto / Getty Images

Source code used by Apple to securely boot iPhones leaked online and was widely distributed until Thursday morning, when Apple used copyright law to get the code taken down. Newer iPhone models have additional security measures that will likely mitigate any security problems.

Why it matters: The source code gives malicious actors an unprecedented look at the internals of one of iPhone's key security features. But even if attackers could use the code to discover vulnerabilities in iOS 9, that does not mean most iPhone users are currently at risk.

How it works: The code, posted to the programming repository GitHub and first spotted by reporters at Motherboard, controls the iBoot function in iOS 9. iBoot checks to make sure the operating system is authentic before booting the phone.

iOS 9 isn't the current iOS, but it also isn't nothing: iOS is currently at version 11, meaning the code is likely out of date. And nearly all phones in the Touch ID era include a "secure enclave" processor — a processor that makes it much more difficult to tamper with the boot process.

Still, for legacy phones or by potentially pairing the leaked code with future vulnerabilities in boot security, it may provide some additional security risk.

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.