Apple Launches Security Research Device Program to Give Bug Hunters Deeper OS Access to Find Vulnerabilities

Apple is today launching a new Apple Security Research Device Program that's designed to provide security researchers with special iPhones that are dedicated to security research with unique code execution and containment policies.

applesecuritydevice
Apple last year said it would be providing security researchers with access to "special" iPhones that would make it easier for them to find security vulnerabilities and weaknesses to make iOS devices more secure, which appears to be the program that's rolling out now.

The iPhones that Apple is providing to security researchers are less locked down than consumer devices and will make it easier to find serious security vulnerabilities.

Apple says the Security Research Device (SRD) offers shell access and can run any tools or entitlements, but other than that, it behaves similarly to a standard iPhone. SRDs are provided to security researchers on a 12-month renewable basis and remain Apple property. Bugs discovered with the SRD must be "promptly" reported to Apple or a relevant third-party.

If you use the SRD to find, test, validate, verify, or confirm a vulnerability, you must promptly report it to Apple and, if the bug is in third-party code, to the appropriate third party. If you didn't use the SRD for any aspect of your work with a vulnerability, Apple strongly encourages (and rewards, through the Apple Security Bounty) that you report the vulnerability, but you are not required to do so.

If you report a vulnerability affecting Apple products, Apple will provide you with a publication date (usually the date on which Apple releases the update to resolve the issue). Apple will work in good faith to resolve each vulnerability as soon as practical. Until the publication date, you cannot discuss the vulnerability with others.

Apple is accepting applications for the Security Research Device Program. Requirements include being in the Apple Developer Program, and having a track record finding security issues on Apple platforms.

Those that participate in the program will have access to extensive documentation and a dedicated forum with Apple engineers, with Apple telling TechCrunch that it wants the program to be a collaboration.

The Security Research Device Program will run alongside the bug bounty program, and hackers can file bug reports with Apple and receive payouts of up to $1 million, with bonuses possible for the worst vulnerabilities.

Top Rated Comments

Vanilla35 Avatar
16 months ago


Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alphaswift Avatar
16 months ago
Every government in the world just joined the Apple Developer Program.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tehabe Avatar
16 months ago
The big issue is, that Apple controls everything in this programme. Apple could decide not to fix an issue and nobody would know because only Apple decides when to release the information. That is btw the reason why Google's Project Zero won't join this programme, it is against their 90 days publication policy.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
16 months ago
Nice to see. Just keep making security better on it Apple.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SecuritySteve Avatar
16 months ago

How is this different than the crash logs we already have in iOS?
There's a huge difference. Right now there's no way to inspect the file system to see if there was a successful breach, and crash logs only contain a stack trace and memory snapshot of application. With this kit you have full access to the device that normally would be protected. This lets you probe more sensitive areas such as Secure Enclave.

It also lets you do more detailed API testing and fuzzing as root on the iPhone, similar to what Google Project Zero's Ian Beer does.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saipher Avatar
16 months ago
This is great news!




Every government in the world just joined the Apple Developer Program.

Requirements include being in the Apple Developer Program, and having a track record finding security issues on Apple platforms.
I think we will be ok.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
ryanscoolios13thumbnail

Apple Releases iOS 13.1.3 With Bug Fixes for Phone, Mail, Health, and More

Tuesday October 15, 2019 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 13.1.3 and iPadOS 13.1.3, minor updates to the iOS 13.1.2 software that was released two weeks ago. This is the fourth update to the iOS 13 operating system that came out in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update....
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...