Apple begins offering special ‘dev-fused’ iPhones to security researchers

Last year at the Black Hat security conference, Apple’s head of security Ivan Krstic said the compnay would give its most-trusted researchers a special “dev-fused” iPhone with unprecedented access to the the device, making it easier to find and report security vulnerabilities in what Apple calls the iOS Security Research Device program.

Apple's iPhone 11
Apple’s iPhone 11

Zack Whittaker for TechCrunch:

Starting today, the company will start loaning these special research iPhones to skilled and vetted researchers that meet the program’s eligibility.

These research iPhones will come with specific, custom-built iOS software with features that ordinary iPhones don’t have, like SSH access and a root shell to run custom commands with the highest access to the software, and debugging tools that make it easier for security researchers to run their code and better understand what’s going on under the surface… Hackers in the research device program will also have access to extensive documentation and a dedicated forum with Apple engineers to answer questions and get feedback.

By giving its best hackers effectively an up-to-date and pre-jailbroken iPhone with some of its normal security restrictions removed, Apple wants to make it easier for trusted security researchers and hackers to find vulnerabilities deep inside the software that haven’t been found before. But as much as these research phones are more open to hackers, Apple said that the devices don’t pose a risk to the security of any other iPhone if they are lost or stolen.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


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