IDG News Service - Following up on a successful bug bounty program that pays hackers for finding security flaws in its Chrome browser, Google now says that it will pay cash for security bugs reported on its websites.
Google calls the program "experimental," but says it gives security researchers new incentives to report Web flaws directly to Google's security team. "As well as enabling us to thank regular contributors in a new way, we hope our new program will attract new researchers and the types of reports that help make our users safer," Google said Monday in a blog posting announcing the program.
The idea is to give Google a chance to fix the vulnerabilities before the bad guys get their hands on them. So, in order to qualify, security researchers must privately disclose new flaws to Google first before they go public with their research. In return, the hackers qualify for cash rewards of between $500 and $3,133.70, depending on the severity of the flaw.
Google has already paid out about 50 such rewards for Chrome bugs since launching a similar program last January. Google doesn't pay out for bugs in all of its products, however. There are no bounties for finding flaws in Android, Picasa or Google Desktop, for example.
With the Web program, Google is breaking new ground.
Web-based hacking involves experimenting with Google's own servers, rather than software that is downloaded to the researcher's computer. So people who do this work run the risk of breaking the law or possibly even disrupting Google's services while conducting their research.
To prevent those kinds of things from happening, Google offers a few guidelines about what's OK and what's not under the program. The company won't pay for denial of service bugs -- which would simply crash Google's Web properties -- or for bugs in the company's corporate infrastructure.
Also out are search engine optimization tricks, bugs in Google-branded sites that are actually hosted by someone else and flaws in sites that were only recently purchased by Google.
And Google says that participants shouldn't use automated tools to search for flaws. "Please, only ever target your own account or a test account," Google said in its blog post. "Never attempt to access anyone else's data. Do not engage in any activity that bombards Google services with large numbers of requests or large volumes of data."
- Troubleshooting Common Issues in VoIP Learn more about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), including common VoIP metrics used, best practices in VoIP management and tips and tricks for...
- 2013 Network Management Software (NMS) Buyers Guide This white paper contains an independent comparison study of six different network management solutions and provides guidance on how you can choose the...
- Rightsizing Your Network Performance Management Solution: 4 Case Studies This white paper discusses challenges encountered as organizations search for the most cost-effective network performance management solution.
- Global Growing Pains: Tapping into B2B Integration Services to Overcome Global Expansion Challenges A recent survey by IDG Research explored both the challenges and pain points companies face when growing globally, as well as the capabilities...
- E-Signature RFP Checklist Webcast If your organization is looking to adopt e-signatures, you may be overwhelmed by the number of providers that offer seemingly similar solutions. How...
- Cloud and Collaboration: Driving Your Business Value Mission Critical Cloud from Peer 1 Hosting is enterprise-grade. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!