Monday, 19 August, 2019

Apple offers security researchers $1 mn, special iPhones

Image by nickeloy from Pixabay
Josh Centers
9 August 2019
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Apple Starts Locking iPhone Batteries to Thwart Independent Repair Image by nickeloy from Pixabay Josh Centers 9 August 2019 No comments Apple Starts Locking iPhone Batteries to Thwart Independent Repair
Emmett Howard | 11 August, 2019, 10:47

Now, Apple has made a decision to raise the iPhone bounty to $1m, which is the highest bug bounty on offer from any major tech company, according to Forbes. In June, researcher Patrick Wardle spotted a flaw that would make it possible for intruders to bypass security prompts in the company's macOS software, as Wired reported. It's also the biggest bug-bounty reward offered by any major technology company, according to Forbes.

Whereas in previous years a bounty of $200,000 represented the cap on what most hackers could hope to attain, and eligibility to try to hack an Apple device for this cash was by invitation only, this fall the stakes will be significantly raised and the bounty open to all comers.

On Thursday, Apple announced that it is offering an increase in the bug bounty for those who will succeed in their search for the operating system vulnerability in iPhones, iPads, and Mac.

Now, the programme has been extended to cover Mac OS, Apple TV, Apple Watch and iPad OS.

The expansion of Apple's bug-bounty programs comes as data breaches are becoming increasingly common throughout the tech and financial industries. This means that anybody who finds a serious security bug can potentially earn a bounty by disclosing it to Apple, and there doesn't appear to even be any accreditation required. As part of the program, qualified security researchers will be provided with special iPhones to find out flaws in them.

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For researchers who discover vulnerabilities in betas and pre-release software packages, a 50% bonus payout is offered on top, meaning a large-scale bug could net a researcher up to $1,500,000 in the most extreme of circumstances.

For those who are security researchers, this obviously means much better support and potential payouts.

More importantly, however, for everybody else this is going to help to promote even more secure hardware and software coming out of Apple.

The Verge wrote: "While these special iPhone dev devices will be more open to security researchers, they won't have the deep level of access that internal Apple developers and the company's security team have".

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