The Black Hat security conference is underway and Apple has announced a new iOS Security Research Device Program. That program will be part of the existing bug bounty program that is also being expanded to include macOS, watchOS, and tvOS for the first time.

The new iOS Security Research Device Program will be available to those security researchers who have a record of being at the top of their game when it comes to finding bugs and vulnerabilities.

That means that not just anyone will be able to join up. Those who are accepted will be given a special iPhone that will come with additional capabilities compared to those that are available to the public.

Those additional capabilities include access to SSH, advanced debug options, and even a root shell. All of that adds up to an easier environment in which researchers can do their thing and potentially find the next big security flaw in iOS.

As open as these new iPhones will be, they won’t have the same level of access as those that Apple’s own developers or security teams currently have. Apple is keeping at least some of its cards close to its chest and doesn’t want to let too much out into the wild.

Apple hopes to further harden its products as a result of its new security initiatives. Seeding security researchers with special hardware and opening its bug bounty program up to all of its platforms will definitely help in that regard.

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