Following the discovery by MIT Technology Review that the kernel in iOS 10 beta is unencrypted, Apple has gone on the record to explain why that’s the case. Speaking with Dave Mark of The Loop, an Apple spokesperson has officially confirmed that the decision was intentional.
Now, some security experts speculated that leaving the iOS 10 kernel unencrypted would aid anyone, nefarious users included, looking for security weaknesses in the iOS software.
Apple explains why such fears are unfounded.
Here’s Apple’s statement:
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.
So there you have it.
As the user data and personal information is not kept in the kernel, your data is safe despite the iOS 10 kernel being unencrypted.
The kernel constitutes the central core of an operating system which manages memory, communicates with peripherals and controls low-level services, hardware and security.
The iOS 10 kernel contains that code, plus necessary device drivers and hardware configuration files, but—again—no user data. Because the kernel is accessed frequently no matter what you do on your device, leaving it unencrypted should in fact allow iOS 10 to perform faster because encryption, even when it’s realized entirely in hardware like on iOS devices, inevitable introduces additional overhead.
Source: The Loop