The Growing Market for Mobile Exploits: Russian Firm Lures Hackers with $20 Million Offer

The Growing Market for Mobile Exploits: Russian Firm Lures Hackers with $20 Million Offerwordpress,mobileexploits,Russianfirm,hackers,$20millionoffer

Russian Zero-Day Acquisition Firm Offers $20 Million for Android, iOS Exploits

Operation Zero, a Russian zero-day acquisition firm, recently announced that it is willing to pay up to $20 million for full exploit chains targeting Android and iOS devices. The firm, which was launched in 2021, claims to provide technologies for offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace and states that it works with private and government organizations in Russia.

Bounties Increased Due to High Demand

Operation Zero stated that it decided to increase the bounties offered for Android and iOS exploits to $20 million due to high demand on the market. The firm also revealed that the end user is a non-NATO country, suggesting that its client base includes Russian entities only.

Zero-Day Acquisition Firms and Their Role

Zero-day acquisition firms like Operation Zero specialize in purchasing exploits that target unreported vulnerabilities and sell them to government agencies or private organizations. These vulnerabilities are often used for spying purposes or are incorporated into spyware products sold to surveillance-endorsing regimes.

While Operation Zero’s $20 million bounties surpass those offered by other exploit acquisition firms such as Zerodium and Crowdfense, it is possible that these competitors simply have not updated their public price lists. However, Operation Zero’s CEO, Sergey Zelenyuk, clarified in an interview that Zerodium and Crowdfense likely offer more for exploits but have not made their updated prices public.

The Need for Exploit Chains

Modern mobile devices feature improved security defenses and mitigations, making it increasingly difficult for attackers to exploit a single zero-day vulnerability for malicious purposes. As a result, zero-day acquisition firms like Operation Zero are seeking exploit chains – a series of exploits – to overcome these security measures and achieve their objectives.

Philosophical Considerations

The rise of zero-day acquisition firms raises ethical and philosophical questions about the implications of selling vulnerabilities in the digital domain. The practice of purchasing and exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities can have serious consequences, as these exploits can be used for surveillance, espionage, or launching cyberattacks. The availability of a marketplace for selling such vulnerabilities has the potential to undermine global security and enable malicious actors.


The growing demand for zero-day exploits and the substantial sums offered by firms like Operation Zero illustrate the escalating arms race in the cyber realm. While defenders continue to enhance security measures, attackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. These dynamics create an unhealthy ecosystem where offensive capabilities outweigh defensive ones.

The responsibility to address this issue does not solely lie on the shoulders of exploit acquisition firms. Governments, technology companies, and individuals alike need to prioritize cybersecurity and invest in measures that minimize the proliferation of zero-day vulnerabilities. Regulation and international cooperation are crucial to curbing the exploitation of vulnerabilities for offensive purposes and to ensure that cyberspace remains secure.


The $20 million bounties offered by Operation Zero for Android and iOS exploit chains highlight the escalating demand for such vulnerabilities in the market. The practice of selling zero-day exploits raises important ethical considerations and emphasizes the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity and international cooperation to address the ever-evolving cyber threats we face.

Technology companies, governments, and individuals must work together to advance the security of digital systems and minimize the risk posed by zero-day vulnerabilities. Only through collective efforts can we ensure a safer and more secure cyberspace for all.


The Growing Market for Mobile Exploits: Russian Firm Lures Hackers with $20 Million Offer
<< photo by Artem Bryzgalov >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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