Apple said to be meeting up with high profile hackers as part of its new bug bounty program

By , Sep 28, 2016

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Apple has reportedly reached out to a handful of high profile iPhone and Mac hackers to try and secure their operating systems from exploits that could be used maliciously or for jailbreaking.

The hackers are expected to meet at the Cupertino campus some time this month, where they can earn up to $200,000 for finding major exploits as part of Apple’s bug bounty program.

Not a lot is known about the event, as Apple requested the participants keep details about it under wraps.

According to a report by Forbes Wednesday morning, one anonymous source has stepped up with some details. Some of the high profile hackers who’ve been invited may include Luca Todesco, who recently demonstrated an iPhone 7 jailbreak, Stefan Esser, a well-known security researcher, and Nicholas Allegra aka comex, the creator of the popular JailbreakMe Safari-based jailbreak tool.

The list goes on, naming many others who are prominent in the jailbreak community that have supposedly been invited to participate in the event, such as ih8sn0w and even members from the Pangu jailbreak team, however a full participant list is not known at this point in time.

Apple’s ruse to invite these hackers is believed to have been a very selective process. Not just any hackers were invited by Apple to hack into these devices; only the best of the best have been hand-picked, likely to save on costs and to get the highest-quality exploits possible.

Should the hackers be successful in finding a bevy of powerful exploits as a part of this event, it may make devices like the iPhone significantly harder to jailbreak in the future, a problem the jailbreak community is already battling, as there have been an infrequent succession of jailbreak releases each year.

Of course, it’s ultimately going to be up to the hackers to participate or not, as various third party sources often pay several times more than what Apple’s offering for security holes in Apple’s devices.

Source: Forbes

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  • ready1take1

    doesn’t apple realize this is just going to hurt innovation?

    • There are two sides to this argument and it’s clear why Apple needs to do what they do. The first side is that it keeps great minds from tinkering with the iOS platform, the second is that not providing security will let third parties access your data and compromise your information. The latter leads to lawsuits, so it’s Apple’s priority to seal bugs.

  • Oscar

    Sellouts!….but then again…I would too.

    • lemonhead

      define sellout, because technically they are ‘Information Security Research Consultants’…
      that is a profession if you didn’t know.

      • Oscar

        First of all, relax. Thank you very much. And sellout as in making it tougher for the JB community by going for the bucks. And in my small, yet understanding, comment I totally aligned with their decision.

      • lemonhead

        perfectly relaxed sitting on the couch and browsing around, but thanks for checkin in 😉

        but your assumption just isn’t correct mate, because it’s their job. There is nothing to sellout on.
        But if you consider not working for free, to be selling out, then yeah you’re right i guess…

      • Oscar

        I’m glad to hear you are relaxed lol :-p but if I’m correct, developers do get paid through donations and what not. I donated for iOS 7 and 8

      • lemonhead

        But they’re not developers, that’s what I’m trying to explain to you.
        They’re Security Researchers and they can either sell their “research/exploits” to the black market (25pp) or to a genuine company (Apple). And then there is non profit aka donations, but that won’t cover their expenses, work they put in, by far.
        So yeah, again there is pretty much no other option as far as I can see it.

      • :D

        Bet you’re one of those sellouts you freaking lemonhead

  • tariq

    This is bad for the future

  • burge

    So Luca Todesco is going to make a nice wedge from this.

  • Rondog

    Well we’ll just have to move over to Samsung that lets us use all kinds of widgets, and at least we can have our phones the way we like and not how apple is trying to FORCE US to. The STOCK Iphone and ipads are crappy looking to say the least. Speaking for MYSELF, the only reason I have apple products is because I have always been able to jailbreak, without a jailbreak possible, so long apple. Besides all the crap that’s on ios 10 is NO GOOD to me. And to BAD but yes there will be a lot of sell-outs, and as far as security BULLSHIT, i’ve NEVER had any security problems and have been jailbroken since ios 6.

    • Mecatrônicos Salê

      I think so too!

  • Rondog

    Last time I wrote about apple going after jailbreaking one guy said that it wasn’t true, HEY where are you NOW.

    • I’m here.

      I think you still don’t understand Apple doesn’t care about jailbreakers. Apple cares about making its platforms secure. If that means working with hackers known in the jailbreak community to reach that goal, then it is what it is.

      Apple doesn’t want to kill jailbreaking. Apple wants to kill anything that could potentially be a threat to the security of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. That’s it.

      • Jayy


      • K3NSH1R0

        Brilliant response Sebastian.

        At the end of the day a jailbreak is exploiting a security flaw which Apple don’t want in their OS, unfortunately for people that jailbreak it makes it harder for them.

        If Apple allowed jailbreaking and folks got hacked or bricked their device you know for a fact that they would blame Apple and that’s something they aren’t going to risk.

  • Rondog

    Then READ the first paragraph and it mentions jailbreaks or have you already forgotten what you read?

    • Diego Milano

      Well yeah, operating system exploits can be used for whatever purpose you can think of, so patching those would eventually compromise the jailbreak community. At the end of the day it’s the hackers’ choice whether to lean towards the money and reputation they would get by having cooperated with Apple or staying “in the shadows” and keep trying to do it. It doesn’t necessarily mean Apple will hire Pangu’s hackers, but pretty much any high-profile hacker out there would be a good candidate. 🙂

  • Mecatrônicos Salê

    The end of Jailbreak….

  • Spencer

    There is a solution (probably not realistic)

    Apple can make certain “holes” that only the jailbreak can fit into, while others cannot…

    Am I unrealistic when saying this?

    • Diego Milano

      Yes, because you cannot control who access or exploits those holes. If the Chinese can do it, anyone else can do it, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to hide it, as long as a vulnerability is there, it is potentially accessible by anyone. 🙂 (“lucky” us? haha).
      No system is invulnerable, that’s the ultimate reality in technology.

  • urrl

    When my jailbroken iPhone 6+ dies along with jailbreaking it’s bye bye Apple for me.
    It’s been fun.