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Thursday, October 10, 2013
Google To Reward Researchers Who Discover Open-source Code Security Holes

Google said Wednesday it plans to reward developers for developing proactive security improvements for some of the most widely used open-source software programs. Rewards will range between US$500 to $3,133.70.

Google says that its Vulnerability Reward Program is not an OSS bug-hunting program. It provides financial incentives for "down-to-earth, proactive improvements that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug," according to Michal Zalewski of Google's Security Team.

"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!," he said.

Google will roll out the program gradually, based on the quality of the received submissions and the feedback from the developer community. For the initial run, Google will imit the scope to the following projects:

- Core infrastructure network services: OpenSSH, BIND, ISC DHCP
- Core infrastructure image parsers: libjpeg, libjpeg-turbo, libpng, giflib
- Open-source foundations of Google Chrome: Chromium, Blink
- Other high-impact libraries: OpenSSL, zlib
Security-critical, commonly used components of the Linux kernel (including KVM)

But Google intends to soon extend the program to widely used web servers (Apache httpd, lighttpd, nginx), SMTP services (Sendmail, Postfix, Exim), Toolchain security improvements for GCC, binutils, and llvm as well as to the OpenVPN.

In order to qualify, patches must first be submitted directly to the maintainers of the project, and researchers must work with them to have it accepted into the repository and incorporated into a shipping version of the program. After these prerequisites are met, they should submit their entry to

Rewards for qualifying submissions will range from $500 to $3,133.7. The final amount is always chosen at the discretion of the reward panel and is based on our judgment of the complexity and impact of the patch.

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