On Monday, Zerodium, a startup that buys and sells hacking tools and exploits to governments around the world, announced price increases for almost everything they are looking for, such as iOS remote jailbreaks and Windows exploits. It said it will now pay security researchers $1,000,000 for exploits in WhatsApp, iMessage, and SMS/MMS apps for all mobile operating systems.
“Messaging apps in general and WhatsApp in particular are sometimes the only communication channel used by targets and end-to-end encryption makes it difficult for our government customers to intercept such communications,” Zerodium’s founder Chaouki Bekrar told Motherboard in an online chat. “So having the ability to remotely compromise these apps directly without compromising the whole phone is much more strategic and effective.”
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