Apple is giving jailbroken iPhones to hackers to tighten iOS security

Apple will give jailbroken iPhones to third-party security researchers and hackers at the Black Hat security conference this week, according to sources. 

The tech giant will announce plans to give iPhones to known hackers alongside the unveiling on its bug bounty programme this week. The company is offering an impressive bounty of up to $200,000 to anyone able to identify security issues in Apple’s operating systems… as long as they have an invite.

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This bug bounty programme is pretty small, with participants having been specially chosen and hand-picked on an invite only basis. It is a bit unconventional for a bug bounty programme to be closed to the public to this extent as the company could risk missing out on some unique and important insights. Apparently Apple hopes that by doing so it can focus on gathering only the most valuable reports and getting “actionable information” on its security system.

According to reports by Forbes, the jailbroken iPhones will differ from regular consumer iPhones in that they will basically be “dev devices”. This means that the handsets will afford the user significantly more freedom and flexibility than a regular iPhone would. Of course the jailbroken devices won’t be too easy to crack as to avoid crossing the line and handing out the same handsets used by by those in Apple’s internal security team. The hackers won’t be able to decrypt Apple’s firmware but it is expected that they will be able to pause the processor and take a closer look at the iPhone’s memory to spot vulnerabilities.

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The plans for the bug bounty programme were first laid out at the 2016 Black Hat security conference but Apple is expected to finally get the ball rolling at the Las Vegas conference this week with a talk from Apple head of security and engineering, Ivan Krstić.

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