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Apple Has Started Paying Hackers for iPhone Exploits

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Motherboard: In 2016, Apple’s head of security surprised the attendees of one of the biggest security conference in the world by announcing a bug bounty program for Apple’s mobile operating system iOS. At the beginning, Apple struggled to woo researchers and convince them to report high-value bugs. For the researchers, the main issue was that the bugs they discovered were too valuable to report to Apple, despite rewards as high as $200,000. Companies like GrayShift and Azimuth made an entire business out of exploiting vulnerabilities in Apple products, while other researchers didn’t want to report bugs so they could keep doing research on iOS. But two years later, some researchers are finally reporting vulnerabilities to Apple, and the company has begun to award some researchers with bounties, Motherboard has learned. […] Adam Donefeld, a researcher at mobile security firm Zimperium said that he has submitted several bugs to Apple and received payments for the company. Donefeld was not part of the first batch of security researchers who were personally invited by Apple to visit its Cupertino campus and asked to join the program. But after submitting a few bugs, Donefeld told me, an Apple employee asked him if he wanted to be part of the bounty program in a phone call. “I know Apple pays people,” Donefeld said in an online chat. “I’m certainly not the only payout.” Another researcher, who asked to remain anonymous because they are worried about souring their relationship with Apple, said that they have submitted a few bugs and been awarded bounties, but has yet to be paid. […] Two other researchers told Motherboard they also have concerns with or have had trouble with the program. One said they weren’t paid for a bug they submitted (Motherboard could not independently confirm that the researcher did not get a payment), and another said they didn’t want to participate in it at all, even after being invited. Further reading: Google Bug Hunter Urges Apple To Change Its iOS Security Culture; Asks Tim Cook To Donate $2.45 Million To Amnesty For His Unpaid iPhone Bug Bounties.

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