Apple plans to reward hackers with up to $200,000 for finding security flaws in its system, the company announced on Thursday.

"We want to reward the people, and frankly the creativity it takes to find bugs in these categories," said Ivan Krstic, Apple's head of security engineering and architecture, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

The "bug bounty" program will only be available to those who've previously reported vulnerabilities to the company. If hackers choose to donate their earnings to charity, Apple says it will match the donation.

The announcement has been a long time coming for Apple. Over the past several years, major tech companies including Google and Facebook have already been rewarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to hackers who report flaws. (Previously, Apple had only been crediting the hackers by putting their names on the website.)

The program comes amid a series of national security breaches, including last month's breach of the Democratic National Committee computers, and as consumer concerns over the safety of personal data climb.

Apple's maximum $200,000 reward, it's worth noting, is far less than what hackers could make from enforcement officials or the black market. The F.B.I. announced in April that it paid more than $1 million to those who found a way into the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, an attacker responsible for shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. last year.