As one of the biggest rewards offered by Apple Inc to defend against hackers, it will offer up to $ 1 million to cybersecurity researchers to detect flaws in iPhones. The move also raises a concern about the government’s breaking into the mobile devices of dissidents, journalists, and human rights advocates.
Earlier, the company offered rewards only to invited researchers who tried to find flaws in its phones and cloud backups. On Thursday, during the annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, the company said it will bring the procedure to all researchers, add Mac software and other targets, and offer a range of rewards, called “bounties,” for the most significant findings.
The prize worth $1 million prizes, will only be applied to remote access to the iPhone kernel without any action from the user of the phone. Apple previously announced a $ 200,000 reward for friendly reports of bugs that are fixable with software updates and not leave them exposed to criminals or spies.
For the most effective hacking techniques in order to get information from devices, the government contractors and brokers have paid as much as $2 million. However, the new rewards of Apple are in the same range as some published prices from contractors.
To make the research easier, the company is also taking other steps including a modified phone that has some security measures disabled. Several other private companies, such as Israel’s NSO Group, sell hacking capabilities to governments.
NSO said in a statement, “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,” it added.