Zerodium, a bug broker, has tripled its payment offer for anyone who can find new zero-day exploits that can be used maliciously. They are offering a payment of $1.5 million to whoever can hack the new iOS 10 operating system Apple devices are running.
“Sophisticated exploits in iOS 10 are about 7.5 times harder to achieve than those in Google’s Android operating system. That’s why Zerodium has pegged similar hacks on Android devices at a maximum fee of $200,000,” Chaouki Bekrar, Zerodium’s founder says.
Zerodium is one of many bug broker companies that offer individuals and companies a reward for finding a fully exploitable flaw. After they pay the bounty, the flaw becomes the companies’ to resell the hack to defense contractors, government agencies, and other private groups.
This practice has been scrutinized by many as a legal way to bring the latest exploits to hackers who want to use them maliciously. Zerodium and other brokers defend their businesses by only selling to companies, governments, and private cybersecurity vendors.
One reason people dislike the bug broker business, is the idea of the broker selling this potentially malicious technology to another party with the cash. Flaws found and paid for, aren’t given to the companies, in this case Apple; who could readily fix the flaw once it finds out about it. This could leave millions of users vulnerable to cyber threats all over the world; especially if these found exploits were bought by the wrong people.
Hackers aren’t the only ones getting paid, being a bug broker is a lucrative business which can earn one a large sum of money. According to reports, another bug broker, Exodus charged clients $200,000 to obtain software exploits. Among the groups shelling out cash, the FBI is said to have paid an un-named company $1 million to gain access to the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist, Syed Farook.
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