The new expansion of the program will include devices such as Macs, MacBooks, Apple TV and the Apple Watch. For those unaware, bug bounty programs are quite common in the tech industry, allowing independent hackers and researchers who discover bugs and security flaws in various systems to make money if they report it to the relevant company. The main benefit of these programs is to prevent those independent researchers from selling the information to third parties on the black market who may abuse security flaws.
The announcement of the program’s expansion came from Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture Ivan Krstić at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Apple hopes that by opening up the program, researchers who discover exploits and security flaws would be more inclined to disclose it to Apple instead of on the black market, ultimately providing the company’s clients and end users with greater protection.
In addition, the tech company has increased its maximum payout per exploit from $200,000 USD to $1 million USD for any researcher that finds a way to take full control of someone else’s iOS device simply by knowing their phone number. Hackers and researches who can find flaws and vulnerabilities in pre-released tech will also get a maximum 50 percent bonus on top of the usual payout for a certain category of exploit.
The bug bounty program — currently covering Apple’s iOS — will begin including macOS and various devices stated above later this year, so stay tuned as more news and details arrive.
Elsewhere in the tech industry, the Trump administration has now banned federal agencies from purchasing tech from Huawei.