Apple Offers $1 Million For iPhone Hack

John Lister's picture

Apple is offering a million dollar bounty to anyone who can successfully hack an iPhone and shares the details. But its limited to specific circumstances that will mean the payout is well worth it for the company.

Like several tech giants, Apple already had a reward scheme for people who find and report bugs. To date the biggest bounty Apple has offered is $200,000 and only to people who have previously been approved to explore Apple bugs. The million dollar bounty is officially open to anyone.

The new offer was made at the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, the leading annual gathering of people interested in security vulnerabilities, and certainly not a place to connect to unfamiliar WiFi networks.

Attack Must Reach Core Of Phone

Only a very specific "hack" meeting three criteria is eligible for the million dollar reward. Firstly, it has to access the iOS kernel. That's the single most important and central part of the operating system and decides which task the processor carries out at any given moment, as well as what's stored in memory.

Secondly, the hack must give persistent access rather than only getting inside for a moment. Thirdly, the hack must work without requiring the phone user to click anything such as a rogue link or file. (Source:

Bounty Outbids Criminal Offers

The eye-catching bounty is likely a response to reports that a malicious hacking group has offered $500,000 for details of such an attack. The price has also been driven up by recent incidents where government law enforcement agencies have paid third parties to find ways to bypass security controls on phones seized from suspects. (Source:

To further push the program, Apple is giving away a special version of the iPhone handset. It allows more access to the traditionally-closed iOS software, giving security experts a better opportunity to dig into the code. While the bounty is open to anyone, only approved applicants will get these handsets.

What's Your Opinion?

Is it a smart idea for Apple to offer such a large reward? Will a million dollars be enough to deter hackers from passing on attack methods to those with a criminal intent? Does Apple risk getting into a bidding war and does it matter given the company's vast financial resources?

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Enroc's picture

I think it is an really good idea because they find out where the "bugs" are and the reward money shows the world that Iphones are safe.