Apple has announced a bounty of $1 million to anyone who can hack into any iPhone. The challenge is thrown by the company at cybersecurity experts who are capable of coming up with flaws in the software loaded in connected devices. The announcement by Apple came at an event at Las Vegas on Black Hat security.
On a previous such occasion, the company had offered such bounties to only an invited group of researchers. This time however, it has thrown it open to a wider lot of researchers.
The stipulation by Apple is that to claim the bounty the person has to access the iPhone remotely without the user engaging in any activity. The last level of bounty offered by Apple was $200,000.
It has been reported that there were instances of vested interests like government contractors making huge payments of even up to $2 million in order to obtain such phone data through hacking. This challenge by Apple offering a similar bounty ensures that even if any security flaw is detected by someone, he or she wonâ€™t be tempted to sell to other entities but to claim the bounty directly from Apple.
The fact is there are companies like the NSO Group of Israel engaged in developing special software which have the capability to gain access into phones and computers. They sell these tools to governments and law enforcement agencies hoping that the tool will be effectively used against terrorists and criminals. The company says it does not want journalists to be the target of such snooping.
As it happens with every other tool, these hacking techniques too get misused mainly by the political class and the corrupt officials who are pliant. Many activists like human rights activists become the targets. If Apple succeeds and no flaws are detected will it boost the sale of its iPhones?