Apple Ups Bug Bounty Payouts, Expands Access to All Researchers and Launches macOS Program

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,967
11,242



Apple is introducing an expanded bug bounty program that covers macOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iCloud as well as iOS devices, Apple's head of security engineering Ivan Krsti? announced this afternoon at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

Apple introduced its bug bounty program for iOS devices in August of 2016, allowing security researchers who locate bugs in iOS to receive a cash payout for disclosing the vulnerability to Apple. Prior to now, non-iOS devices were not included, a move that has previously been criticized by the security community.


Apple's lack of a macOS bug bounty program made headlines earlier this year when a German teenager initially refused to hand over details of a major macOS Keychain security flaw because Apple didn't have a payout. While he did ultimately provide the info to Apple, he said that he hoped his refusal would inspire Apple to expand its bug bounty program, which the company has indeed done.

With the launch of the new macOS bug bounty program, Apple is opening its bug bounties up to all researchers later this year and it is increasing the maximum size of the bounty from $200,000 per exploit to $1 million depending on the nature of the security flaw. A zero-click kernel code execution with persistence will earn the maximum amount.

Researchers who discover vulnerabilities in pre-release software before general release can qualify for up to a 50 percent bonus payout on top of the base bug bounty amount.

As reported earlier this week, Apple also plans to provide vetted and trusted security researchers and hackers with "dev" iPhones, aka special iPhones that provide deeper access to the underlying software and operating system that will make it easier for vulnerabilities to be discovered.


Apple is providing these iPhones as part of its new iOS Security Research Device Program, launching next year. Apple's aim with these new bug bounty efforts is to encourage additional security researchers to disclose vulnerabilities, ultimately leading to more secure devices for consumers.

(Thanks, SecuritySteve!)

Article Link: Apple Ups Bug Bounty Payouts, Expands Access to All Researchers and Launches macOS Program
 

jgbr

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2007
667
532
Finally it should include core rot solutions too IE: stability
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,689
apple probably figured its cheaper to have someone look for bugs than hiring a team of engineers.
Also, there are legal issues if an Apple engineer reverse engineers third-party apps on their platform and looks at their code, to use as part of an attack. This could lead to accusations that Apple copied from third parties' code, something that independent researchers don't run into.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 65816
Apr 20, 2016
1,406
1,489
La Jolla, CA
If someone has ALREADY Discovered an iOS Performance Bug in the A11 & A12, & has tried repeatedly to get the word out to Apple, but Apple never ONCE responded, what's the payout ???
 
  • Like
Reactions: nitramwin

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
807
1,183
UK
Just thought I'd point out the typo in this article:
Researchers who discover vulnerabilities in pre-release software before general release can quality for up to a 50 percent bonus payout
 

IIGS User

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2019
311
699
This is welcome news. It would be nice if Apple could fully secure its own software but that's just not how the industry works.
There's an old saying I'll paraphrase. "No plan of battle survives first contact with the enemy".

No software testing can put every piece of software into every possible configuration. One different application, combined with a different time zone, and a screen configuration can change things enough for something inside to cry "uncle".

Just like my old man used to say. Never buy the first year of a new model car or truck. Give it a year or two for some other idiot to find out the wiper switch doesn't like prune fumes, or some other issue no one thought up....
 

Darth Tulhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2019
773
1,154
So did that guy get paid?

There is often a sacrificial lamb so that others may benefit...
 

M.PaulCezanne

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2014
809
1,556
There's an old saying I'll paraphrase. "No plan of battle survives first contact with the enemy".

No software testing can put every piece of software into every possible configuration. One different application, combined with a different time zone, and a screen configuration can change things enough for something inside to cry "uncle".

Just like my old man used to say. Never buy the first year of a new model car or truck. Give it a year or two for some other idiot to find out the wiper switch doesn't like prune fumes, or some other issue no one thought up....
prune fumes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nitramwin

noraa

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
328
740
This is welcome news. It would be nice if Apple could fully secure its own software but that's just not how the industry works.
Sometimes it's better to have 3rd party eyes looking at things. It's like if you're writing a paper and you proof read it yourself, often times you will miss typos or misspellings that someone else reading your paper will find.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyBry

NickName99

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2018
946
2,742
This is great news. If it’s far more profitable for people to sell exploits on the black market, they might do that.

Unfortunately this is just a cost of doing business - and the more secure the system, the more valuable exploits are (since they are more rare).
 

FontGeek

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2018
18
23
And now with the developer iOS devices, even more people that can leak information about Apple to the public. Sometimes I wonder if Apple actually wants the public to know bits and pieces about its “secret projects,” and that the secrecy thing is really there just to add suspense.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
1,935
1,666
apple probably figured its cheaper to have someone look for bugs than hiring a team of engineers.
I don’t think you understand how software security works. I’m sure Apple has a very good team of security researchers, but no single person or team can catch all flaws, no matter the number of people in that team. There will always be someone outside who will be able to hack their system and sell it on the black market. The bounty program is so that Apple will be able to entice these hackers with better and cleaner payouts so Apple can be a step ahead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nitramwin
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.