Google Pays Cash to Hackers for Finding Web Security Flaws
By Jared Newman
Wanted by Google: Bounty-hunting hackers who can find security vulnerabilities in popular Web apps.
For security researchers who find flaws in Internet services like Gmail, Blogger and YouTube, Google will reward $500 or more per bug. Vulnerabilities that are “severe or unusually clever” pay up to $3,133.70. Optionally, benevolent hackers can also donate their rewards to charity, in which case Google will match the winnings at its discretion.
The move to Web apps, however, is an important and logical step for Google. The company is putting a lot of faith in Web apps as the future of computing, as evidenced by the upcoming Chrome OS. If users are going to store more and more sensitive information into online services, those services need to be secure.
In the future, Google may expand the program to client applications such as Android, Picasa and Google desktop. Let’s hope that happens soon; analysis firm Coverity recently found 88 high-risk defects in the Android kernel.
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