Patches not a permanent fix
It has been found that the iPhone software contains a “very high severity issue” which could allow cyber-criminals and hackers to steal passwords with just a text message. A second vulnerability lets them exploit FaceTime and listen in on the calls of iPhone users. The tech giant has issued patches for both problems; however, this will not help unless iPhone users update their software.
The incidents are a reminder of the value of bug bounty programs which tech companies use to pay people to reveal software flaws to them. To a firm, it might cost a huge portion of the money and some embarrassment, but even they will agree that it is better than a situation in which hackers find the flaws first. Google’s former head of spam highlighted the importance of bug bounties in the context of a clever phone scam.
Ironically, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the only major tech firm not offering a bug bounty program. The smartphone maker remains the lone hold-out even when every company from the Pentagon to Uber is offering big bounties to avoid cyber-crime. Employees at SalesForce and Cisco reported the FaceTime and messaging vulnerabilities.
Should Apple (AAPL) create a bug bounty program?
After these incidents, the iPhone maker may come under some big pressure and finally be forced to create a bounty program of its own. However, as The New York Times reported in March, the iPhone making giant might have a difficult time in doing so.
“Some security researchers said no bounty Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could offer now would match the reward they could expect from the underground market. Apple has waited so long that the black market for its flaws has become extremely lucrative, perhaps making any bug bounty program the company would create seem late to the game,” The New York Times noted.
Whatever may be the case, it’s high time for the iPhone maker to create a bounty program.
On Friday, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares closed down 0.77% at $98.66. Year to date, the stock is down more than 8%, while in the last year, it is down almost 21%. The stock has a 52-week high of $125.74 and a 52-week low of $89.47.