Google bug bounties now include open source

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Google bug bounties now include open source

Rewards for 'down-to-earth fixes' for BIND, Linux kernel, lighttpd, Sendmail, OpenVPN and others.

Google is adding bugs in open source software (OSS) to its vulnerability reward program expanding its bug bounty project that has been ongoing since November 2010.

In its initial run, Google will be offering vulnerability rewards ranging from $500 to $3,133.70 for core infrastructure network services, including OpenSSH, BIND, ISC DHCP; and core infrastructure image parsers, including libjpeg, libjpeg-turbo, libpng, giflib, according to a post by Michal Zalewski, a Google security team member.

Bug hunters will also receive vulnerability rewards for open-source foundations of Google Chrome, such as Chromium and Blink; other high-impact libraries, including OpenSSL and zlib; and security-critical and commonly used components of the Linux kernel, including Kernel-based Virtual Machine, according to Zalewski.

“So we decided to try something new: provide financial incentives for down-to-earth, proactive improvements that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug,” Zalewski said. “Whether you want to switch to a more secure allocator, to add privilege separation, to clean up a bunch of sketchy calls to strcat(), or even just to enable ASLR  – we want to help!”

In the future, Google is hoping to expand the OSS bug bounty program to web servers, including Apache httpd, lighttpd and nginx; SMTP services, including Sendmail, Postfix and Exim; toolchain security improvements for GCC, binutils and llvm; and OpenVPN, Zalewski said in the post.

“We're excited about this new effort, which complements and extends our long-running vulnerability reward programs for Google web applications and for Google Chrome,” a Google spokesperson told SC.

Not everyone is convinced vulnerability reward programs mitigate threats entirely. Aviram Jenik, CEO of vulnerability assessment company Beyond Security, said his personal experiences with Google's bug bounty program have been “not stellar.”

This article originally appeared at

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