Apple on Wednesday officially launched its iOS Security Research Device (SRD) program -- a significant milestone for the white-hat hacker community, which has made significant strides in recent years gaining the trust of software developers, tech manufacturers and website operators that previously were reluctant to work with outsiders on security issues.

Under the terms of the program, Apple will send trusted hackers a research iPhone that they can study and probe to hunt for potentially dangerous vulnerabilities and report them, with an opportunity to earn a bug bounty reward. Many mobile security expert contend that Apple's newfound open-mindedness should ultimately result in a more secure product.

“The iOS Security Research Device program is a step in the right direction for Apple, as they are a high-priority target for nation-state-backed attackers. By looping in more researchers to perform a greater volume of testing, Apple should achieve better security as a result," said Casey Ellis, CTO and founder of vulnerability disclosure platform provider Bugcrowd.

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