Zerodium posts a $1.5M bounty on an iOS 10 jailbreak

By , Sep 29, 2016

zerodium bounty

While Apple might be trying to attract high profile hackers to help secure iOS through its bug bounty program, Zerodium appears to be once again trying to poach the talent of jailbreaking iOS for an even larger bounty.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because they’ve been doing this kind of thing for years. Zerodium is the kind of company that buys hacking talent to find 0day exploits in various operating systems, which it can then sell off to other higher-paying entities.

Last year, the firm bought a jailbreak for iOS 9 for $1M, but now it’s looking to pay out an even higher reward of $1.5M for yet another jailbreak, only this time around, it’s for iOS 10.

According to Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar, the increase in the bounty reward amount is tantamount to the increase in security Apple has imposed on its mobile operating system. For example, jailbreak preventions like Rootless and KPP (kernel patch protection) are there to make hacking harder.

There are also open opportunities for hackers to sell working exploits that grant a user remote code execution access to Android 6.x & 7.x, Blackberry OS 10, Windows 10 mobile, and various other operating systems for computers. Different operating system exploits offer varying rewards.

All an eligible hacker needs to do to collect the bounty is show a proof of concept that their exploits work, and then share the exploits with Zerodium, all while providing the firm with full rights to them. Afterwards, Zerodium will pay up its promised funds within a week.

Although Zerodium doesn’t disclose who the jailbreaks are sold to, it’s believed that the jailbreaks get sold to large corporations or governments who have the money to pony up for security holes in consumer electronics. For example, governments may use these tools to get into encrypted devices for their own needs.

For what it’s worth, these kinds of large bounties haven’t stopped jailbreak teams like Pangu and TaiG from releasing jailbreaks to the public in the past, so you shouldn’t expect that this will prevent progress on a future iOS 10 jailbreak for everyone.

The people and groups who sell their exploits to bounty programs like these typically have no intention of releasing their jailbreak to the public in the first place, as they understand the great value behind them.

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  • pnh

    If this is true and those other stories you write are true, that (bleep) Luca Toadesco should have more money than Donald Trump.

    • Xee

      You didn’t read or understand the article….

    • Agneev Mukherjee


    • RK


  • Sohrab Rafie

    Does anyone know how big the jailbreak community is? I say let’s set up a crowdfunding campaign as an incentive for iOS 10 jailbreak

    • Xee

      You didn’t read or understand the article…

      • Sohrab

        Of course I did. Don’t jump into conclusions. This is from redit. But the thing is with these kind of initiatives it’s more attractive to sell exploits instead of using them for jailbreak purposes. However if we bundle our forces we might offer a counter proposition. What do you think 😉

    • Elias Chao

      If we use r/jailbreak as an estimate of how big the Jailbreak scene is, then it would be around 138K jailbreakers. If we divide 1.5M between 138K, we should pay around $10-$11 (USD) in order to match Zerodium offer.

      There would certainly be a lot of people who would pay even more, but I’m afraid not the majority of the subreddit would even pay. You’d be surprised to know how many people is into jailbreaking just because of piracy tho.

      • Sohrab

        If we take 1.5M minus dignity = 100k. I believe there is someone who appreciates this amount. The question is how to organize such a thing.

  • Stephen Hedger

    If Apple allowed us more customisation of iOS then for many we wouldn’t need a jailbreak in the first place. It’s sad to see the jailbreak scene being killed off slowly in this way. The time between jailbreaks is so long most people are giving up and moving to otter platforms.

    • Mark S

      Or to beaver platforms.

      • Xee


    • Pi Xo


      • Stephen Hedger


      • Pi Xo


  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Does this mean that we’ll see an iOS 10 jailbreak earlier than expected?

    • Templar

      Not necessarily

      • Agneev Mukherjee


      • Agneev Mukherjee


    • Elias Chao

      Zerodium wouldn’t release a public jailbreak tho, they sell those exploits to governments and stuff.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        I know that, but with iOS 9, almost days after Zerodium received the exploits, the jailbreak was released by Pangu, so don’t get your knickers in a twist

  • TornBodies

    Luca Todesco Is rubbing his hands like Birdman right now.

  • MMA Rules

    The jailbreak community always thought that they shouldn’t pay for any jailbreak and this is what’s going on the hackers got tired of working for free, all those hours of work to release a free jailbreak and I remember that if someone wanted to charge for it everyone was bending out of shape for that reason, well there you go they are getting tired; for how long we haven’t had a jailbreak? Because there are no income and incentive, i wouldn’t mind even paying $20 for a jailbreak, just having YouTube++ is worth those $20, my thoughts you don’t have to agree with it!

    • iFlasher

      No one does it for free (Maybe in the past). Pangu and Taig for example, gets more money from Chinese app stores than this “little” bounty.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Dang I should’ve tinkered with computers more back in HS and not watch porn!

  • Rondog

    BUT I think that even if Pangu or TaiG charged a few bucks for their jailbreaks, I don’t know $5 or $10 per, all of us that like to jailbreak would happily PAY. The main thing is that we get a jailbreak. All we have to NOT DO is update once we are on a jailbreak and that’s it. Just dont update man, is that so hard to do? So lets get those ios 10 jailbreaks out and we should be smart enough to NOT UPDATE.

    • anonymous

      Honestly jailbreak hasn’t interested me this much as it did back in the old iOS version 6 7 good times 8 9 was eh

      • Rondog

        Maybe your just tired of jailbreaks, but for myself when I start using my phone in the morning I automatically do my activator gestures and CRAP, i’m not jailbroken, I’ve gotten so used to a jailbreak that I miss all the great tweaks. Springtomize, activator all the great themes, etc. I’m just so used to having my devices the way I like them that I just can’t stand looking at them stock. But I get where your coming from, I have a couple of friends that gave up on jailbreaks, but mostly because they had stuff like crashes, stuck on apple loop, etc., but I get my stuff up and running real quick, so it doesn’t bother me.