Apple deliberately left iOS 10 kernel unencrypted

According to a statement from Apple, this was done deliberately to boost system performance.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Apple is one of the most secretive companies in the world, so it came as a bit of a surprise to find that the preview version of iOS 10 that it released at WWDC had an unencrypted kernel.

Was this a blunder, or is Apple ushering in a new era of openness?

See also: A lot of what Apple does is 'user-hostile and stupid' -- and we have only ourselves to blame

According to a statement released by Apple, it was done to improve performance.

"The kernel cache doesn't contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we're able to optimize the operating system's performance without compromising security," an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Which begs the question - if an unencrypted kernel doesn't compromise security, why did Apple encrypt it in the first place?

The move allows security researchers - both the good guys and bad - to get an unprecedented look at the code that powers iPhones and iPads.

Jonathan Zdziarski, an expert on iOS security, told MIT Technology Review that leaving the kernel unencrypted could mean that more iOS bugs are spotted and fixed.

"Opening up the OS might help other researchers to find and report bugs, by giving everyone just as much visibility as an advanced and well-funded research team might have," said Zdziarski.

See also:

Editorial standards