At today's Black Hat Conference
, an annual event designed for the global InfoSec community, Apple's head of security engineering Ivan Krstic announced the launch of a bug bounty program that will see Apple paying money to individuals who discover major bugs and security flaws in the company's software.
Many major technology companies like Google and Microsoft offer bug bounty programs to encourage people to discover and report major vulnerabilities, but until now, Apple has declined to provide a similar program.
According to TechCrunch
, Apple's new bug bounty program is part of Apple's effort to open up to hackers, researchers, and cryptographers who want to help improve the company's security.
Apple will be offering bounties
of up to $200,000 to researchers depending on the vulnerability that's discovered. Secure boot firmware components will earn $200,000 at the high end, while smaller vulnerabilities, like access from a sandboxed process to user data outside of the sandbox, will earn $25,000.
Although each category of vulnerability maxes out at the given rate, Apple will determine the exact reward amount based on several factors: the clarity of the vulnerability report; the novelty of the problem and the likelihood of user exposure; and the degree of user interaction necessary to exploit the vulnerability.
Apple plans to launch its new bug bounty program in September. To be eligible for a reward as part of the program, researchers will need to provide proof-of-concept on the latest versions of iOS and the company's newest hardware. Apple will also encourage researchers to donate their earnings to charity and will match all bug bounty donations.
The program will be invite only
for the time being, limited to a few dozen researchers. Apple plans to make it more open as it grows, and if a non-member discovers a significant bug, they'll be invited to the program.