Hackers Win Big Bounty After Remotely Jailbreaking iPhones

Usually, Apple devices are thought to be safe from viruses and hacking attempts even though there have been cases where hackers did manage to get past Apple’s security measures. Recently, Zerodium, a startup that offers attractive rewards to people who can discover bugs in IT systems, started a competition with $1 million as prize for any hacker who could successfully develop a browser based and untethered way to remotely jailbreak iOS 9, the latest iPhone OS till date.

To win the challenge, hackers would need to come up with either a browser (Chrome/ Safari) or text/ multimedia based system that would jailbreak an iPhone remotely so that Zerodium could verify by gaining full access to the device and installing any app it wanted.

The competition was slated to end on 31st October and the following day, Zerodium announced that it had found a winner for the challenge.

Now here’s the ominous part- Zerodium is quite infamous for selling off such sensitive information to the highest bidder, and naturally, news of Apple’s vulnerability would definitely fetch top dollar. In fact, Chaouki Bekrar, CEO of Zerodium, had another startup that actually pit rival firms, inlcuding public institutions, against each other in sort of an ‘intelligence arms race!’ VUPEN, his earlier startup, even lists the now infamous NSA as a client.

This is a grim reminder that secure does not really mean unbreachable; it only means that it will take the bad guys a little longer to get at your data. So the best course of action to be safe from attacks is to be careful about how we use our devices.