Apple today officially opened its bug bounty program to all security researchers, after the company announced the expansion plan at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Prior to now, Apple’s bug bounty program was invitation-based and non-iOS devices were not included. As reported by ZDNet, from today any security researcher who locates bugs in iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS, or iCloud will be eligible to receive a cash payout for disclosing the vulnerability to Apple.
Apple has also increased 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.
Apple says it will add a 50 percent bonus on top of the standard payout for bugs found in beta software, which allows the company to nix the issue before the OS version goes public. It is also offering the same bonus for so-called “regression bugs” – these are bugs that Apple has patched in the past but which have been accidentally reintroduced in a later version of the software.
Apple has published more information on its website detailing the bug bounty program’s rules, as well as a full breakdown of the rewards being offered to researchers based on the exploits they uncover.
When submitting reports, researchers must include a detailed description of the issue, an explanation of the state of the system when the exploit works, and enough information for Apple to reliably reproduce the issue.
Next year, Apple plans to provide vetted and trusted security researchers and hackers with “dev” iPhones, or special iPhones that provide deeper access to the underlying software and operating system that will make it easier for vulnerabilities to be discovered.
These iPhones are being provided as part of Apple’s forthcoming iOS Security Research Device Program, which aims to encourage additional security researchers to disclose vulnerabilities, ultimately leading to more secure devices for consumers.