What you need to know

  • Apple is giving hackers "special iPhones" at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.
  • These devices will let hackers openly probe the operating system.
  • The goal is to make the iPhone more secure.

At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas later this month, Apple will reportedly hand out "special iPhones" designed to make it easier for security researchers to pinpoint vulnerabilities.

Forbes has the scoop:

What makes these iPhones special? One source with knowledge of the Apple announcement said they would essentially be "dev devices." Think of them as iPhones that allow the user to do a lot more than they could on a traditionally locked-down iPhone. For instance, it should be possible to probe pieces of the Apple operating system that aren't easily accessible on a commercial iPhone. In particular, the special devices could allow hackers to stop the processor and inspect memory for vulnerabilities. This would allow them to see what happens at the code level when they attempt an attack on iOS code.

The goal is to improve the iPhone's security, which is no stranger to exploits. The devices given to hackers who participate in Apple's bug bounty program won't be the same used by Apple's internal security team. Instead, Forbes describes them as "lite" versions.

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In addition to handing out these special iPhones, Apple is said to announce a macOS bounty program. Anyone who finds a security issue with Apple's computer software will be rewarded.

The 2019 Black Hat conference takes place later this week, so we should learn more about Apple's new programs very soon.

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