Apple has just put up a bounty on flaws in iPhone Security systems. They are inviting all cyber security researches to find a flaw in the iPhone’s security system, and they have promised a record bounty of $1M to the one who manages to find a crack. This represents the largest reward that a single company ever offered in defense against hack purposes.
This is a time of growing concerns about safety of mobile devices. There is an especially strong fear of rumors about governments that are having access to mobile devices and private content of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, and others. Apple has previously offered similar rewards to cyber security researchers, but only those they handpicked and invited. However, this is the first time they are offering an open challenge and all for making their users feel extra safe and to putting the stop to these rumors and fears once and for all.
The reward of $1 Million is indeed the largest offered so far in any of such opportunities and the news was initially announced on a security conference called Black Hat, held in Las Vegas last Thursday. Apple offered a range of various rewards and bounties to all researchers and they also added in Mac software to the hunt. The $1M prize particularly applies only to remotely accessing an iPhone kernel with no action being taken by that phone’s owner. Apple is also offering a modified phone version with some reduced or disabled security measures for research purposes, and they are offering a range of other bounties which now rival those government contractors or brokers offered in the past for similar hacking techniques of obtaining information and content from devices.
Apple is now in the lead in this area of making radical steps to ensure the safety of iPhone devices, Mac software, and their other products. On the opposing side of this information privacy war is the NSO Group, which is a private research company that sells hacking tools and capabilities to the governments. However, their sole focus is to help preserve public safety, as NSO said in their statement recently: “NSO Group develops technology that is licensed to intelligence and law enforcement agencies for the sole purpose of preventing and investigating terror and crime. It is not a tool to target journalists for doing their job or to silence critics.”