Apple employee didn’t tell Google about exploit found in Chrome

As we often report here, it’s common for tech companies to help each other improve their security systems by sharing zero-day exploits found by security researchers. Google, for example, does this a lot. But recently, an Apple employee reportedly found a zero-day exploit in Google Chrome – and that bug was never reported to Apple by that person.

Apple didn’t tell Google about exploit found in Chrome

A recent update to the Google Chrome web browser fixes a zero-day exploit. And as companies usually describe who discovered the exploit and how it was fixed, the description of this one was somewhat intriguing. That’s because, according to a Google employee, the exploit was originally found by an Apple employee.

More specifically, the bug was found when the Apple employee was participating in a hacking competition known as “Capture The Flag,” or “CTF,” in March. When found, the exploit was a zero-day – meaning no one was aware of it until that moment. But while Google has now fixed that exploit, it wasn’t thanks to Apple’s security researcher.

“This issue was reported by sisu from CTF team HXP and discovered by a member of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture (SEAR) during HXP CTF 2022,” the Google employee wrote in a blog dedicated to the Chromium platform (via TechCrunch).

TechCrunch’s report had access to a Discord channel where a person claiming to be the Apple employee who found the bug said “there wasn’t any real urgency” to fix the exploit immediately. The person explained that only Apple’s security research team knew about the exploit and that it’s not easily accessible in a real-world scenario.

Furthermore, the employee claimed that the exploit was reported to Google on June 5 and that the delay was due to the time it took for multiple people to sign off on the report.

iOS 16.5.1 security exploit | Purple iPhone wallpaper featuring Apple logos and iPhone 14

What do both companies have to say?

Neither the employees, Apple, nor Google commented on the situation to the press. But, of course, this could end up causing some disagreement between the two companies’ security teams. Earlier this year, Apple thanked Microsoft for finding an exploit that could lead to the bypassing of System Integrity Protection in macOS.

Google Project Zero researchers are also often given credit for finding zero-day exploits on Apple platforms.

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