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In an ever-increasing digital world, security persists as a top issue for consumers, businesses and governments. We trust our technology to make purchases, transfer medical records and generally keep our secrets. So we want our devices to be safe.

Apple recently learned the iPhone had a pretty big security flaw, and it was all thanks to a well-meaning 14-year-old kid in Arizona.

The iPhone is a common enough device. You may have one on you right now. So it's safe to say the security flaw had the potential to affect millions of customers if left unchecked. Fortunately our hero Grant Thompson discovered it, and Apple released a software update to fix the issue last week.

The technical flaw came with Facetime (video chat) calls. The New York Times reported that this bug allowed Facetime users to "call another iPhone user and listen in on that person's conversations through the device's microphone--even if the recipient [didn't] answer the call."

Pretty alarming, that. The only people who should be able to listen to our phone calls without permission are workers at the NSA. If they have a warrant.

It seems Apple was gracious about this bug being found, so the company is rewarding the high school student who discovered it. Fox News reported that Apple is going to pay young Mr. Thompson for reporting the bug. Not only that, Tim Cook's company is going to provide an additional gift to fund his education. Good on them.

In movies and books, if techies or hackers discover a security flaw, they're quick to exploit it for nefarious purposes. But this sort of story shows that good hackers are out there.

And that sometimes tech companies can do the right thing. Apple is one example, but Google does the same thing. CNBC reported that one teen made a habit of finding bugs for Google, and the tech giant gave him a payout of $36,337 last year. In total, Google paid out nearly $3 million to people who reported security flaws in 2017.

Call it a just reward.

Editorial on 02/10/2019

Print Headline: Just rewards


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