Apple, the company usually known for protecting its iPhones, iPads, and Mac devices from hackers, is sending hacker-friendly iPhones to security researchers. Back in July, the company announced that it was making this “special” iPhone that consumers couldn’t buy. And this week, those iPhones started shipping.
It was mentioned that the iPhones we consumers buy have the more locked down version of iOS. This makes it difficult for hackers to install malicious software. However, the hacker-friendly iPhones made available to researchers don’t have a locked version of iOS. This is given to researchers when Apple realized that it might be difficult for them to analyze and discover locked iOS security vulnerabilities.
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As mentioned on the Macrumors website, Apple sent out notifications to researchers this week for the shipping of the first batch of iPhone. In addition, these hacker-friendly iPhones are on loan from Apple for 12 months. But Apple can extend the time if it wants.
Needless to say, by distributing these hacker-friendly iPhones, the company expects that almost any existing security vulnerability will be discovered and promptly fixed. Incentives are given to researchers as Apple runs a bug bounty program, the payout of which is awarded to those who first discover the vulnerability.
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The award amount depends on the severity of the vulnerability. The top payout is up to $ 1.5 million (approximate) £11 crores). And since the company understands that these hacker-friendly iPhones are not meant to be used like a regular iPhone, you won’t be able to buy them anywhere.