Reports circling the Internet suggest Apple has taken the first step towards getting help from hackers who circumvent its security. Apple intends to use this bug bounty program to entice hackers to inform it about possible threats to its software. To start with, it has reportedly invited a select few to participate–those who are well-known from the jailbreak community and related fields.
Top jailbreak hackers to meet with Apple
According to Forbes, those Apple has invited include the 19-year-old who was the first to jailbreak the iPhone 7, the well-known hacker and jailbreak creator Luca Tedesco, Patrick Wardle, and Nicholas Allegra, a.k.a. Comex, the creator of JailbreakMe. It’s clear that Apple thinks they have the abilities it needs to make its program a success.
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However, more names could be on the invited list–names that are familiar to people with knowledge of the jailbreak and hacking communities. They include Steven De Franco, a.k.a. iH8sn0w and Stefan Esser, a.k.a. i0n1c, a polarizing figure due to his outspoken ways. Also Pedro Vilaca, Alex Ionescu, and Hao Xu, a member of the PanGu Team, could attend.
The meeting is reportedly being put together so that Apple can talk to its traditional foes about the bug bounty program. The program intends to reward hackers, those who usually would be working on jailbreaks, with up to $200,000 for informing Apple about any vulnerabilities found in its software or hardware, predominantly iPhones and Macs.
Bug bounty program
Apple is expected to launch the program in October, probably next week. It has been talking about it for some time now and previously promised it would go live next month.
As for why it’s not opening up the program to the masses from the start, the fact that it has invited heavy hitters shows that it wants to work with those who have proven themselves in either the jailbreak community or the wider hacking field. It also seems that a few of the names above have reached out in the past. Apple has allowed developers to report bugs for some time, and this is how some already have a relationship with it.
What could this mean?
By offering financial rewards to those who are the best at what they do, hackers that it has painstakingly hand-picked from the thousands out there, Apple is likely to save money with the bug bounty program and get the best security team available. As for how this could affect the jailbreak community going forward, if Apple manages to convince those attending the meeting to go over to the dark side, it will become even harder to jailbreak.
However, that is the negative way of looking at this scenario; what could happen is that none of the invited people join the program. But whatever happens, the final decision comes down to those who have helped to create the jailbreak community: the hackers.