Back in July, Apple announced that it was producing a special type of iPhone that consumers would not be able to buy. Instead, this hacking adapter would be sent exclusively to security researchers. A new iPhone began shipping this week.
As you might expect, iPhone users include a locked version of iOS to make it very difficult for malware and hackers to take control of your device. However, security researchers have to work with the same version, which makes it difficult to analyze and detect security holes in the mobile OS. Apple realized this and decided to offer the research community an iPhone hacker tailored to the iPhone.
As reported by MacRumors, Apple sent notifications this week to the first group of researchers selected to receive the special iPhone. They’re obviously in the mail and should arrive soon, which means some researchers may end up with an unexpected Christmas present that opens on Friday.
Hack-friendly iPhones are borrowed from Apple for a period of 12 months, but the time frame can be extended if Apple deems it necessary. In return for making these devices available, Apple expects all detected vulnerabilities to be reported immediately. Researchers are encouraged to do so anyway because Apple is launching a bug-reward program with payouts assigned to whoever first discovers a security flaw. The amount paid depends on the severity of the vulnerability, with currently the largest payout of $ 1.5 million.
Don’t expect to see these special iPhones in the wild. Apple is clear that they are not intended for use like a regular iPhone. Instead, they will most likely remain on the researchers ’desk bombarded with attempts to hack insurance and earnings and the praise and cash that comes with each discovery.
This article was originally published here on PCMag