Data & Security

Apple Bold Move: Shipping Jailbroken iPhones and Stickers to Empower Bug Bounty Hunters

jailbroken Apple iPhones

In social media, jailbroken Apple iPhones – essentially hacking iOS to remove security features, is a hot topic.

This time, Apple is doing the jailbreaking. The security researcher Gergely Kalman posted a photo on X (formerly known as Twitter) of a jailbroken iPhone 14 Pro that Apple sent him.

There was also a page of instructions for researchers and several promotional stickers included in the photo.

Some of the jailbroken apple iPhones features shocked Kalman, who runs a cybersecurity firm in Spain.

Third-party researchers can probe for vulnerabilities without being locked out since Apple pre-jailbreaks the devices.

According to the researchers, this essentially means that they can run arbitrary code, as an arbitrary user with arbitrary entitlements, giving them almost complete control over the device.

A self-proclaimed “Apple-vetted hacker” noted that jailbreaks “rarely exist” for the latest version of iOS, and when they do, they commonly compromise crucial data.

It is incredibly useful to have an SRD as a security researcher,” he said. Financial rewards are available for researchers who discover new vulnerabilities. ​ New vulnerabilities are reported to Apple and addressed by iOS developers.

As for Kalman, he hasn’t yet discovered any iOS vulnerabilities himself. “Ask me in six months,” he said.

Despite the jailbreaking, Kalman said the devices are essentially “identical” to normal iPhones.

As far as all intents and purposes are concerned, this would function just like a regular iPhone 14 Pro, but it is explicitly forbidden for us to use it that way – for obvious reasons.” Kalman said.

Researchers are provided SRDs for 12-month periods, but access to the devices themselves is strictly controlled, according to TechCrunch.

Researchers who bypass the lockscreen “without significant or very technical effort” can claim a $5,000 reward on Apple’s security website.

Those who discover a vulnerability that allows them to bypass the iOS Lockdown Mode may qualify for a payout worth up to $2 million.

According to Apple, “unauthorized modifications” to iOS can cause crashes, freezes, and battery drain.

“Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that modifies iOS,” says the iPhone User Guide. Furthermore, Apple may deny service to an iPhone with any unauthorized software installed because unauthorized modification of iOS constitutes a violation of the iOS and iPadOS Software License Agreement.”

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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