Apple Will Pay Researchers To Find Security Bugs

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 19 : Apple's logo is seen at the entrance of an Apple Store in the popular shopping district of Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan, on March 19, 2015. Apple stores are preparing to launch the new Apple Watch on April 24th. (Photo by David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Despite how popular they remain, most of us who have an iPhone, iPad, or anything else from Apple have complained about the product at some point or another. It freezes! It loses my music! It needs to be charged too often!

But now, it looks like finding a solution to these problems — amongst others — could be a lucrative enterprise.

Apple recently announced that it plans to offer up to $200,000 in rewards to people who are able to locate critical security bugs in their product.

Apple’s announcement comes on the heels of a roster of other technology companies — including AT&T Inc, Facebook Inc, Google, Microsoft Corp, Tesla Motors Inc and Yahoo Inc . — who have made similar offers to those who can eliminate flaws and help make their products run more efficiently. But Apple’s offer is one of the highest made to date.

However, the lucrative offer comes with a caveat: the money will only be offered to a specific group of researchers chosen by Apple.

Who does this group consist of? According to Apple, the researchers make up a group of about 24 experts who have all helped Apple find bugs in their products before. This is the first time these people will be paid for what they find, which will be limited to pesky, persistent security bugs in five categories that Apple has narrowed down.

The researchers will be paid the most — $200, 000 — if they can find bugs in Apple’s “secure boot” firmware. This is designed to stop unauthorized programs from launching without a user’s knowledge or permission, when their iOS device is being charged.

One might wonder why, if the researchers have all already found problems in Apple’s products before, the categories have been pre-selected for them. In other words, since the researchers have already proven their talents, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to give them free reign, and see what they can come up with?

But Apple revealed that in essence, they limited what the researchers should be looking for due to precedent. Other companies that have made offers like theirs in the past have limited their programs, so they decided to do the same.

These companies said that if they were to launch a program of this nature again, they would start small with only a handful of pre-selected individuals. Then, depending on how successful the program was, they would invite others in time.

Do you think paying researchers to find bugs is a good idea for a company like Apple? Sound off in the comments below!

For more on this story, visit The Globe and Mail.

Featured image source: Wired

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