Apple is offering £830,000 to anyone who can hack an iPhone

By Rhona Shennan
Monday, 12 August, 2019, 11:09
Do you think someone will successfully hack the iPhone? (Photo: Shutterstock)

With people growing more concerned about their digital privacy and how secure their personal data is, Apple is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to protecting its customers from hackers.

Putting their security systems to the test, Apple are offering up $1 million (£830,000) to anyone that can successfully hack an iPhone.

Unhackable?

Apple’s head of security, Ivan Krstić, recently announced the news at the Black Hat technology security conference in Las Vegas.

The full amount will be given to researchers who can find a hack in the core of iOS, without the iPhone owner being required to click on something to give the hackers access. There will also be a 50 per cent bonus for hackers who can find any vulnerabilities in software prior to it being released.

The so-called ‘bug bounty’ is the highest one offered by any major tech company - far surpassing the £124k offered by Google for finding security holes in Google code.

It’s not just for iPhones either - Apple also announced a Mac bug bounty and is extending it to watchOS and its Apple TV operating system.

Special iPhones for hackers

Apple is producing special iPhones for this hack attempt. Anyone can apply to get one of these iPhones, but there are only a limited amount being produced, and they will only be given to qualified researchers. However, the experiment is open to all security researchers, rather than the previous invite-only eligibility.

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These special iPhones won’t be like regular ones you can pick up in a shop, but instead have been specifically coded for developers who want to dive even deeper into the phones hardware.

Krstić said at Black Hat, “We want to attract exceptional researchers who have been focused on other platforms.”

“Today many researchers tell us they look at our platform and want to do research but the bar is just too high.”

Previous Apple flaws

This year alone has seen Apple exposed by a variety of flaws and vulnerabilities that could impact their users.

Two members of Google’s security research team found six critical security vulnerabilities in the Apple iOS 12.4 update which was released earlier this month.

Security researchers attending the Black Hat convention last week also managed to bypass the iPhone FaceID user authentication in just 120 seconds.

Apple users have been warned that an iMessage security vulnerability has been discovered - this means that an attacker can read the files on a users iPhone without needing physical access to the device.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News