Google has said it is increasing the reward payable to those who manage to discover key vulnerabilities on its Chrome browser, Chrome OS and Chromebooks from the present $50,000 to $100,000.
The two-fold increase should be a good indicator of how serious the search giant is about security on its systems and services. The company stated it has already doled out a whopping $2 million as a reward to bounty hunters in 2015.
More specifically, Google is keen to see its Chromebooks are able to ward off security threats while in Guest Mode. There have been no claimants of the reward so far though Google is keen to press further by doubling the reward amount in its bid to lure in more hackers to test its security measures.
“Rewards for qualifying bugs typically range from $500 to $100,000. We have a standing $100,000 reward for participants that can compromise a Chromebook or Chromebox with device persistence in guest mode.” reads Chrome Reward Program Rules.
The Chromebook continues to operate in a niche segment catering mainly to the student community. Also, another aspect that has contributed to the rapid proliferation of Chromebooks among students is the low price tag, with some models selling for as low as just $150. However, it is still endearing to see its makers being so serious with its security even though the system is rarely used in high-end business or research areas.
Another aspect where Google is concerned is its Chrome browser. Particularly, the search giant is keen to find out if there are any loopholes for unscrupulous hackers to exploit its Safe Browsing program. This forms part of its Download Protection Bypassing program.
Google has earlier pioneered the Safe Browsing concept that aims to create a list of sites that contains malware or phishing content.
Besides Chrome, other browsers such as Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox also draw upon the list of URLs from Safe Browsing to ensure users of these browsers are protected against fraudulent sites.
In any case, security and privacy has assumed added significance in recent times thanks to the high-profile court battle between the FBI and Apple. It is also a continuous battle where the hackers are ever on the lookout for means to have unauthorised access to users’ data or systems to carry out their nefarious designs. This can range from simple acts of theft of one’s personal records or to those that could wreak financial havoc on individuals or institutions.