Apple has called in a world-renowned group of hackers and iPhone jailbreakers to help secure new versions of iOS and macOS, according to a new report.
Cupertino held a confidential meeting today, briefing a group of world-renowned hackers on the impending launch of Apple’s bug bounty program — in which the company will reportedly reward up to $200,000 for information regarding security vulnerabilities across the Apple ecosystem. The program is expected to officially launch before this month is over, the tech giant announced at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas last month, according to TechCrunch.
Apple chose to limit who can take part in the program to a small, invitation-only list of individuals — citing the desire for quality over quantity. And it certainly seems that way, since the group of hackers Apple has recruited includes some big names. Their ranks include Luca Tedesco, 19, the first person to jailbreak an iPhone 7; Nicholas Allegra, 19, a teenage prodigy iOS hacker; and Patrick Wardle, an ex-NSA employee who has been vocally critical of Apple OS X security, according to Forbes.
Some other names believed to be on the list include Francisco Alonso, Stefan Esser, Braden Thomas, Pedro Vilaca and Johnathan Zdziarski — all renowned iPhone and Mac hackers. Interestingly enough, the Forbes reporter noted that they had not been “made aware” of any female participants — but also added that there are more names on the list that the company had withheld. The names were reportedly pulled from a list of researchers who had previously submitted vulnerabilities to Apple.
It’s worth noting that many were impressed with the amount of money that Apple was offering per vulnerability report. No other tech company, including Google or Microsoft, has offered as much. However, hackers also have the option to sell information to third-party security companies — a move that could net them upwards of $1 million, Forbes reported.