Techies Can Earn Up To $9 Million In Exchange For Hacking Tools For iPhone, iMessage, SMS-Based Exploits; Pricing Here | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Apple iPhones are renowned across the globe for their secure software. Due to this tight infrastructure, the tools that enable hackers to intercept these smartphones (and apps such as Google Chrome, Safari, WhatsApp, iMessage and other messaging protocols) command a high price in millions of dollars. The primary reason for these soaring prices to intercept iOS and Android OS is because of their tight security system, TechCrunch reported.

Research firm Crowdfense shared a price sheet for hacking tools (called ‘zero-days’) in the tech world. These generally depend on the unpatched vulnerabilities unknown to the software manufacturer. The “high-quality zero-day exploits” acquirer Crowdfense and others like Zerodium get these zero-days to resell them to organisations.

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These organisations may include state agencies and contractors who use it to track criminals. As per the research hub, it can pay anywhere from $5 million to $7 million for zero-click iOS exploits. For Android vulnerabilities, the number stands at up to $5 million. For comparison, these rates were up to $3 million in 2019 for both smartphone platforms.

Price sheet shared on Crowdfense’s website. (Image:Crowdfense/JE)

As for Chrome and Safari browsers, the bug bounties can step up to $3 million and $3.5 million. For messaging applications like WhatsApp and iMessage, the figures for zero-click exploits can range from $3 million to $5 million. For zero-click exploits for Microsoft Windows can return up to $2 million. Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi zero exploits can earn up to $1 million.

The highest rate in Crowdfense’s catalogue is for SMS/MMS zero-click vulnerabilities, which can go up to $9 million. Outside of Russia, these are the highest prices for exploits known publicly. For context, in 2023, a company ‘Operation Zero’ offered up to $20 million to hack iPhone and Android smartphones. The Russian prices are boosted primarily due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Also Read: Government Issues ‘High-Risk’ Alert For iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Users

The report noted that state agencies could be paying even more than the stated prices to acquire the exploits. The rising prices are a result of swift action from tech companies, including Apple and Google, to patch vulnerabilities in their software. Moreover, Apple currently offers security researchers to earn up to $2 million via the Security Bounty program.


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