Apple Offers Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview for Free to Have Security Reviewed

In addition to releasing a preview of its Mac OS X Lion to registered developers, Apple is now reaching out to security experts to have the OS reviewed from a security standpoint.

According to a report citing several security researchers, Apple has sent out a letter to a number of high-profile code-savvy individuals.

The letter reportedly says: "I wanted to let you know that I've requested that you be invited to the prerelease seed of Mac OS X Lion, and you should receive an invitation soon."

Sent to an unknown number of security experts, the letter added: "As you have reported Mac OS X security issues in the past, I thought that you might be interested in taking a look at this. It contains several improvements in the area of security countermeasures."

It is not known on behalf of whom exactly this letter was sent from Apple, given that it addresses security researchers in the first person.

However, CNet reports that some of these researchers were happy to learn about Apple’s initiative.

They expressed their delight via Twitter, with one of them noting that "This looks to be a step in the direction of opening up a bit and inviting more dialogue with external researchers."

"I won't be able to comment on it until its release, but hooray for free access!", researcher Dino Dai Zovi said.

Famous hacker and security expert Charlie Miller was willing to answer a few questions on the topic, as he had not yet downloaded the Mac OS X 10.7 built.

Asked whether this was the first time Apple had offered an OS preview to security experts, Miller said: "As far as I know they have never reached out to security researchers in this way. Also, we won't have to pay for it like everybody else.”

"It's not hiring us to do pen-tests of it, but at least it's not total isolation anymore, and at least security crosses their mind now," Miller added.

"I haven't downloaded it yet, but if I had, I couldn't talk about it," he said. "Damn NDAs."

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