What you need to know
- Apple has begun sending iPhones out for its Security Research Device Program.
- The iPhones are on loan to security researchers for at least a year.
Reported by MacRumors, Apple has begun to notify security researchers that they will begin to receive iPhones as part of the company's new Apple Security Research Device Program, the company's program to support security research for its software.
According to the communication, the iPhones provided to researchers will be on loan for a year with the option to extend that period.
Apple is notifying the first researchers who will be receiving these special iPhones as of today, and the Cupertino company says that the devices will be sent out right away. Under the terms of the program, participating security researchers will be provided with iPhones that are on loan for one year, though it will be possible to extend the loan period.
While security researchers would commonly jailbreak iPhones in order to perform research in the past, the iPhones in the program will not require this and still enable them to help discover potential vulnerabilities.
The iPhones Apple will provide are less locked down than consumer devices, which will make it easier for researchers to locate serious security vulnerabilities. These devices are as close as possible to production phones with the latest version of iOS and modern hardware. Researchers will not need to jailbreak the phones to do research, which will enable them to investigate platform security features, and they can run whatever tools they want to test the OS.
Security researchers who discover vulnerabilities can submit them as part of Apple's bug bounty program and potentially receive payouts of up to $1.5 million depending on the severity and scale of the issue they discover.