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Apple reveals special new iPhones for security researchers

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Developer units will make it easier to find security vulnerabilities

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Apple is planning to supply special iPhones to security researchers next year to help them find security flaws in iOS. The devices will be made available to researchers that report bugs through the company’s invitation-only bug bounty program for iOS. Apple first launched this bug bounty program three years ago at the Black Hat conference, and it’s now extending its use at the same conference today to cover macOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and more.

Apple’s iOS Security Research Device program will be available to researchers with a track record of high-quality security research on any platform, so not every regular developer will be able to access these devices. The handsets will come with ssh, a root shell, and advanced debug capabilities, all designed to make it easier for security researchers to spot bugs.

While these special iPhone dev devices will be more open to security researchers, they won’t have the deep level of access that internal Apple developers and the company’s security team have.