Apple finally introduces bug bounty programme

Company will offer a maximum reward of $200,000 for flaws in its security

Bug bounty

Apple has finally announced the creation of a bug bounty programme, in order to let external researchers patch up any holes in its security. 

The company will pay security experts up to $200,000 (153,400) for flaws in its secure boot firmware, up to $100,000 for flaws exfiltrating confidential data from the secure enclave processor, and up to $50,000 for flaws executing arbitrary code with kernel privileges on iOS.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Additionally, Apple will offer a maximum of $25,000 to anyone that can get at user data within a sandboxed process, and a prize of up to $50,000 for anyone that can get into iCloud account information from its servers.

The news was announced at the annual Black Hat security conference by Ivan Krsti, Apple's head of security engineering and architecture. "We've had great help from researchers like you and the security mechanisms we build have gotten stronger," he said.

"The feedback that we've heard pretty consistently both from my red team and Apple and also directly is that it's getting more difficult to find some of the most critical types of security vulnerabilities."

The programme will be invitation-only at first, and will start off with a "few dozen" researchers. Krsti also added that if a researcher donates their bounty to charity, Apple will match the amount.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Bug bounty programmes, where companies pay hackers in exchange for telling them about any vulnerabilities they find in their software, are a staple of the security industry. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Uber, and even PornHub all use bug bounties as a way of encouraging hackers to discreetly report flaws rather than exploit them.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Despite being one the largest companies in the tech industry, Apple has waited longer than most of its competition to implement a bounty programme. The company has come in hard though, and its bounties are among the most generous offered by a major corporation.

Apple has not made public why it is finally opening up a bug bounty programme after so long, but it may have something to do with its spat with the US government earlier this year.

The FBI was attempting to force Apple to break its own encryption, but backed down after a third-party company did it for them. Apple consequently opened up its early iOS 10 code to developers, leaving it unencrypted, meaning developers could spot flaws and offer patches.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/ransomware/356292/university-of-california-gets-fleeced-by-hackers-for-114-million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/356289/australia-announces-135b-investment-in-cybersecurity
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-security/356288/csa-and-issa-form-cybersecurity-partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020
Visit/antivirus/28144/best-antivirus
antivirus

Best antivirus for Windows 10

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/security/vulnerability/356295/microsoft-patches-high-risk-flaws-that-can-be-exploited-with-a
vulnerability

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/data-protection/356344/eu-institutions-warned-against-purchasing-any-further
data protection

EU institutions told to avoid Microsoft software after licence spat

3 Jul 2020